One More Perk for Getting Your Vaccine? Free Weed.

Several states add cannabis to the ever-expanding list of incentives for getting the jab.

LordHenriVoton/Getty

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

If the promise of free beer or free subway rides wasn’t enough to lure some people to get their coronavirus vaccines, officials in at least a few states are now offering another perk: free weed.

Washington state’s liquor and cannabis board gave a green light this past week for adults to receive a pre-rolled joint from certified marijuana retailers if they get their jab at an in-store vaccination clinic. Dispensaries in Arizona and California have recently announced similar programs, offering joints and gummy edibles to vaccine patients over the age of 21. There are plans for free weed if you get the vaccine in New York City and Washington D.C., too.

It’s part of an ever-growing list of incentives by cities and states that are trying to convince more Americans to get their shots after the pace of vaccinations began to slow sharply in the United States in mid-April. Promotions have included everything from alcohol to full-ride college scholarships to the chance to win cash prizes of $1 million or more. In New Orleans, people who get the jab are offered free crawfish.

For the most part, these programs are aimed at young people and others who aren’t necessarily opposed to the vaccine but for whatever reason haven’t made it a priority to get a shot. And as my colleague Abigail Weinberg has reported, there’s some evidence that these incentives are working: After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced several $1 million lotteries for vaccinated residents, the rate of people getting the jab shot up in his state by more than a quarter within days. Not bad.

But while lotteries are alluring for some, at least one bioethicist believes it’s more effective to offer smaller, guaranteed prizes to everyone, such as a $100 savings bond (like in West Virginia). In New York City, more than 11,000 people got vaccinated at MTA stations after they were promised a week of free train rides. Maybe free joints will sweeten the deal even more.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate