Pot for shots?

(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

There seems to be some sort of competition going on between our three west coast states to determine which one can produce the weirdest headlines in an already very weird year. Washington state may be moving into the lead in that contest with their latest scheme to get more people to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated against COVID. They’ve already tried all of the usual plans, such as hosting vaccination pods at pharmacies or in huge tents full of Army doctors and nurses set up in parking lots. Now they’re trying to reach the more reluctant citizens, particularly among the younger and healthier residents who may not worry as much about becoming infected. With that in mind, the state is allowing marijuana dispensaries to host vaccination clinics. And if you show up at one of these pods and get a jab you can have a free joint (marijuana cigarette) as your reward. I guess they’re really trying to drive their total vaccination numbers higher. (Sorry… not sorry.) This report is from the Daily Wire.

Washington state just added a new incentive for citizens to get vaccinated as it announced that it will temporarily allow certain shops to give away free marijuana joints alongside COVID-19 vaccinations.

As reported by The Olympian, “The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board [LCB] is offering pot shops the opportunity to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics at their stores and give a free joint to customers who get vaccinated, according to a news release from the agency.”

Last week, Washington state announced other motivations for people to get the vaccine, including the possibility of winning $1 million.

I suppose this qualifies as outside-the-box thinking. And the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board clearly knows the audience they’re trying to target. According to Statista, Washington state reports the fifth-highest percentage of adults in the nation who admit to having used cannabis in the past year, coming in at 25.5%. (The District of Columbia came in at number one with 27.5% in case you’re curious. That might explain a lot about what we’re seeing in Washington these days.)

The age range for typical pot smokers in Washington covers most of the spectrum, but it’s definitely more prevalent among young adults. And that’s the age range that’s been lagging well behind those 45 and above across the nation in terms of vaccinations. So at least on paper it sounds like it could be a viable plan, right?

This wasn’t the state’s first foray into unusual vaccination marketing schemes. Last month they copied a plan used in DC, offering “a shot and a beer” vaccination events where participants could get a free beer after being jabbed. A county in western New York actually beat both of them to the punch with that plan, though.

But how many people will actually show up? It could be more than you might think. Those free beer events produced some fairly impressive results, with the pods reporting significant increases over their daily average number of participants.

Of course, it’s close to a certainty that the people they will attract will fall into the category of those who were never really suspicious of or opposed to the vaccines but simply hadn’t bothered to show up yet because they weren’t that concerned about it. The truly hesitant will likely have the same question in their minds that we’ve posed here before. The government never offered to pay you to get a flu shot, nor did they offer you free drinks. People will be asking how bad this vaccine actually is if they have to bribe you to take it. Or, in the case of Washington state, the question might be, ‘Is this vaccine really so dodgy that you have to be drunk or high to agree to get it?’