Cannabis activists in Washington DC have come up with a great new incentive to help encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine: free weed.
For their new “Joints for Jabs” campaign, advocacy groups DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) and Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) are teaming up to hand out free bags of organic bud at coronavirus vaccination centers all across the city. DC officials just announced their plans to begin vaccinating adults over 65-years-old this Monday, but the free weed handouts will not begin until the city begins offering vaccinations to the general public.
“This community effort aims to highlight the need for further local and national cannabis reform while also advocating for equitable distribution of the critical vaccine,” said DCMJ in a press release. According to the group, dozens of home-growers are planning to donate organically-grown, pesticide-free cannabis, which will be handed out by activists outside the city's vaccination centers.
“With all the concern around the new coronavirus vaccine, and vaccines in general, we believe giving away free cannabis will help ease the anxiety of getting the shot,” said MDMJ co-founder Kris Furnish in a statement. “I want to make sure the cannabis community helps eradicate the virus, and anyone who gets vaccinated will get a small gift of free cannabis.”
Free weed giveaways are legal under DC law, which allows adults to legally grow weed for personal use. This law, initially enacted by voters in 2014, does not legalize cannabis sales, however, and GOP Congressmembers have consistently blocked the District from establishing its own adult-use retail market. In the meantime, local entrepreneurs have been skirting the law by offering “free” weed in exchange for donations, speeches, or sales of merch.
Four years ago, DCMJ held a similar giveaway, offering over 10,000 free joints at President Trump's inauguration to help raise awareness for legalization. The group will not be holding another weed giveaway for President-elect Biden's inauguration next week, though, in order to maintain safe social distancing protocols.
“We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis,” said DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller in a statement. “DCMJ believes that cannabis should be consumed safely and responsibly, and the pandemic has made this incredibly difficult for many adults to share their homegrown cannabis. When enough adults are inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, it will be time to celebrate – not just the end of the pandemic, but the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States.”