Some COVID-19 vaccines administered in Washington D.C. this spring may come with a party favor: weed.
Cannabis reform activist group DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) announced in a press release Monday that, come spring 2021, if vaccines are widely available to the public, they will hand out free bags of cannabis at some vaccination sites in the district. Cannabis is legal to use recreationally and for medical purposes in D.C.
“To celebrate this momentous occasion and thank people for getting vaccinated, dozens of D.C. home growers will lawfully distribute free bags of cannabis outside vaccination centers as soon as the general public is able to get vaccinated,” the release said.
The "Jabs for Joints" initiative is one the group said in their release will hopefully encourage more people to get the vaccine. DCMJ said they want to celebrate the hopeful end to the pandemic, bring visibility to the campaign to legalize cannabis nationwide, and most importantly educate the public on how legislation can have a ripple effect.
“I want people to get the shots and to know they are appreciated for doing so,” said DCMJ co-founder Adam Eidinger to Motherboard in an email. “We also see the vaccination center as a place for education and outreach as well as to mobilize people to let lawmakers know they want to protect and even expand home grow rights in the District and to allow adults to buy and sell cannabis. We want to end the intense policing of Black communities too as it’s completely connected to marijuana enforcement to this day.
The group is also a handout card with a “call your council member cheat sheet” on it. These will be handed out with the free weed, Eidinger said. He said the hope here is to boost public engagement with politics at all levels.
DCMJ said it will work with local officials to make sure distribution is legal and COVID-safe. The cannabis itself will come from DCMJ home growers and, according to the press release, all of the bud that’s handed out will be pesticide and synthetic fertilizer-free. So far they have two pounds already pledged, according to Eidinger.
In addition to the inoculation proclamation, the DCMJ said it will hand out joints at the presidential inauguration this summer, should the event in D.C. take place. The activist group says the gathering will hopefully persuade the Biden administration to push the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), which decriminalizes marijuana and “establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses,” the bill reads.
During the 2017 inauguration, DCMJ handed out joints in protest. Dubbed “#Trump420,” the protest was massively popular.
“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,” DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller said in a statement. “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.”