A weed dispensary in Manitoba has launched a lottery that will give three Manitoba residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 a year’s supply of cannabis.
The “Joints for Jabs” initiative, introduced by Winnipeg-based retailer Delta 9, is part of a growing effort by businesses and governments across Canada to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“Delta 9 Cannabis was considered an essential service during this pandemic and so we feel the responsibility to do what we can to get as many Manitobans vaccinated as possible and help get things back to the way they were before the pandemic,” Delta 9 spokesperson Ian Chadsey told VICE World News.
The program, which started Monday, will run until September and will offer three grand prize winners up to $100 per month for 12 months—or approximately 28 grams of weed per month. Every Delta 9 store in Manitoba will also give away 20 free joints each month.
To enter, customers don’t need to buy anything from Delta 9—they just need to prove they’ve received both doses of a two-dose vaccine.
Manitoba and Alberta have both announced lotteries that allow vaccinated residents the chance to win millions of dollars, vacations, and festival tickets after getting jabbed. The hope is that even those who are vaccine hesitant will feel a push to get vaccinated, especially in Alberta where vaccine hesitancy rates are the highest in the country.
According to University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr. Susan Bondy, prizes and other incentives are probably a good way to rally Canadians around vaccine uptake.
“There is a ton of scientific evidence in favour of moves like lotteries,” Bondy told VICE World News. In fact, researchers offer incentives to get people to participate in studies “all the time,” she said.
“People are more motivated by positive things than scare tactics,” Bondy said.
There’s also a bit of an exchange going on that may encourage people to get the vaccine sooner. “When the public asks someone to participate in vaccinations, we are asking them to give something,” Bondy said, so offering incentives—including the fantasy that you’ll win the lottery or, say, a year’s supply of weed—becomes a “good and cost efficient” way of saying “thank you” to people who got jabbed.
That’s not to say people wouldn’t get vaccinated regardless, Bondy said, but they may feel better about getting jabbed, and may do so faster.
“It’s one of many small efforts we should take to encourage maximum participation,” she said.
Manitobans have already dropped their names into Delta 9’s draw, Chadsey said, but didn’t specify how many.
The company will draw names on July 31, August 31, and September 30.
As of Tuesday, two-thirds of Canada’s population had received at least one jab.
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