Marijuana stores in Washington state can offer free joints to promote vaccinations

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SEATTLE (AP) — Licensed marijuana stores in Washington state can offer free joints to promote on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinics, officials said Monday.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board is calling the effort the “Joints for Jabs” program. The board says licensed adult-use marijuana retail shops can give away a single pre-rolled joint to anyone over 21 who gets a shot at an on-site vaccine clinic held by July 12.

The board has already allowed breweries, wineries and restaurants to offer free drinks in exchange for proof of vaccination — though alcohol-serving establishments have not had to host a clinic on-site to give out product.

Other incentives being offered in Washington include free sports tickets and prize money of up to $1 million.

The idea is to persuade more people to become vaccinated, helping to control the deadly virus and helping Washington to fully reopen more quickly. Gov. Jay Inslee intends to lift all COVID-related restrictions at the end of the month or when 70% of those over 16 have received at least their first vaccine dose, whichever comes first.

The board said the marijuana stores must buy any joints they intend to give away from licensed producers or processors and they must keep records of any product given away.