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Quebec's new policy for its province-run cannabis and alcohol stores to require proof of vaccination appears to have paid off: Officials say the number of people seeking their vaccine have quadrupled.
The Quebec government announced the policy on January 6 as infection rates skyrocketed due to the influx of the highly-contagious Omicron variant. Quebec residents will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter the government’s cannabis and alcohol stores starting January 18.
“In just a few days, the appointments for the 1st dose went from 1.5K per day to over 6K yesterday, tweeted Quebec’s minister of health and human services Christan Dubé on January 7 (the original tweet is in French — so, this is an approximate translation via Google Translate.) “Thank you to everyone who decided to get vaccinated. It is not too late to receive your 1st dose. Protect yourself.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">En quelques jours seulement, les prises de rendez-vous pour la 1ère dose sont passées de 1,5K par jour à plus de 6K hier. Merci à tous ceux qui ont décidé de se faire vacciner. Il n’est pas trop tard pour recevoir sa 1ère dose. Protégez-vous.<br> <a href="https://t.co/LvEIaqn80x">https://t.co/LvEIaqn80x</a></p>— Christian Dubé (@cdube_sante) <a href="https://twitter.com/cdube_sante/status/1479450552635465729?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 7, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Dubé did not include a source in his tweet for the surge in vaccine numbers. However, given the tweet's timeline, it is unlikely that the initial rise in vaxxers can be attributed solely to the cannabis policy.
Dubé included a link to an article in La Presse which interviewed people getting their vaccines at Quebec’s Olympic Stadium. Several mentioned the effect that increasingly strict restrictions for the unvaccinated played in their decision to get their own inoculation.
“There is no point in being against [the vaccine],” said Mohamed Tazi in La Presse. “I want to make my life without being locked up.”
Of course, this is not the only cannabis-related gambit to convince people to get their shot. Most of the time, however, these gambits included positive reinforcement.
In January 2020, a Michigan dispensary launched a “Pot for Shots” campaign that laced adults carrying proof of vaccine with a pre-roll. That same month, advocacy groups DC Marijuana Justice and Maryland Marijuana Justice announced plans to hand out bags of organic cannabis flower to people at coronavirus vaccination centers. And in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado cannabis companies donated cannabis to other essential workers, people who had lost their jobs, or to their loved ones.
Perhaps we’ve only seen the beginning of cannabis’ role in the global pandemic. Yesterday, news broke that researchers at Oregon State University found evidence that some forms of CBD and CBG could potentially treat or prevent COVID-19 infection, which has, as of this writing, claimed more than 5.5 million lives worldwide.
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