‘Poke And Toke’: Washington State Allows Free Marijuana With COVID-19 Vaccine

Washington state officials call a new state program “Joints for Jabs,” but a few wags have come up with another name: Poke and toke.

The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) this week approved a program to allow state-licensed marijuana retailers to “provide one joint to adult consumers who receive COVID-19 vaccination at an in-store vaccination clinic.”

State officials last week announced Washington has reached its goal of at least vaccinating 70% of adult residents, which Democratic Governor Jay Inslee says will allow the removal of most remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

But the program comes with a lot of rules.

  • Participating cannabis retailers may only provide a pre-roll joint, and no other product may be provided as part of this allowance.
  • Any cannabis joint provided to a customer must be associated with an active vaccine clinic event at the retail location.
  • Only one complimentary joint may be provided to a customer who receives a first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose at the event.
  • Receipt of the complimentary joint must occur during the same visit as receiving the vaccination, and may not be delayed, postponed, or otherwise acquired at a later date or time.
  • Retailers may only provide the complementary joint to persons 21 years of age and older.
  • Any vaccine clinic held inside a licensed retail location must comply with all age restriction requirements for the cannabis retailer.
  • The cannabis joint must be provided by a retailer, and not a producer or processor.
  • The retailer must purchase the product at wholesale from a licensed producer or processor.
  • The retailer may provide the cannabis joint without having to conduct a retail sale of the product. As no sale occurs, the provided product will not be subject to sales and excise tax for the retail licensee.
  • Licensees are required to maintain records of all product provided as part of this allowance.
  • Advertising of vaccine clinics and one complementary joint for those receiving a first or second COVID-19 vaccine will be allowable during the afforded time period, so long as licensees maintain compliance with all other advertising regulations.
  • This allowance does not supersede any state or local health rules and regulations, and licensees must ensure compliance with local heath jurisdiction rules and regulations associated with such clinics.

Washington isn’t the first state to turn to free weed to encourage residents to get vaccinated. Earlier this month, the Mint Cannabis Dispensary in Arizona joined up with a medical group to offer free, on-site vaccinations at its three Phoenix-area locations. In exchange, adults received a free joint and an edible cannabis gummy, an initiative the dispensary dubbed “Snax for Vaxx,” USA Today reported.

Other states have gotten creative. Last month, Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine put up $5 million in a lottery drawing to persuade residents to get the vaccine. In the lottery, five vaccinated adults will win $1 million, with the money coming from federal coronavirus relief funds.

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