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‘Joints for jabs’ vaccine program in Washington faces hurdles

A sign is pictured near police tape, which was used as a prop for a ribbon cutting ceremony, at Cannabis City, a retail marijuana store, on July 8, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Washington’s new “joints for jabs” COVID-19 vaccination incentive program is off to a slow start.

Officials announced Monday that the state’s nearly 500 licensed marijuana retailers could begin hosting vaccine clinics and offering a single, free pre-rolled marijuana cigarette to those (age 21 and over) who get a shot.

Sen. Fortunato says Washington’s ‘joints for jabs’ promotion is ‘idiotic’

Part of the trouble with the program is that most pot shop owners don’t have the space to host a vaccine clinic. On top of that, some health care providers are uneasy about setting up a clinic on the site of a marijuana business because they don’t want to jeopardize their federal funding. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Additionally, the program is set to end on July 12, which is too soon for a shop to offer a second shot to customers who might show up for a first shot in mid-to-late June.

Local retailers also say it’s unfair that breweries and wineries have been allowed to give away drinks to customers who merely showed proof of vaccination — no on-site clinic required.

Washington and Colorado in 2012 were the first states to legalize the adult use of marijuana, with regulated sales beginning in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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