Shots and pot: Get free weed at pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Long Beach
Before you “puff, puff, pass,” go get the vax.
That’s the recommendation from two Long Beach groups encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
As the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain of the coronavirus in California, grassroots organizations are innovating ways to get residents vaccinated — including one creative idea from the Long Beach Collective Assn., a coalition of cannabis businesses, and Long Beach Forward, an advocacy organization for low-income communities of color.
In a pop-up event cheekily titled “Joints for Jabs” on Saturday, July 24, the first 150 residents to get vaccinated at Houghton Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will receive a token redeemable for a free pre-rolled marijuana joint, according to a news release. Participants must be 21 or older to receive a token.
“We all want to have a safe summer and enjoy one another’s company even as the pandemic continues on and recreation opens up,” Long Beach Forward’s executive director, James Suazo, said in a statement. “Cannabis is part of our Long Beach culture, and to safely share a joint without contributing to the spread of COVID-19, we must all do our part to get vaccinated. With the delta variant becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain in Los Angeles County, we want our unvaccinated neighbors to catch a free marijuana strain instead so we can protect each other.”
The event is not run by the city, which continues to offer free vaccines daily.
Free cannabis joints are the latest in a series of gags across the country to incentivize people to get vaccinated. Other places have offered free beer, doughnuts, vehicles — and, in California’s case, $1.5 million checks.
On July 8, Long Beach passed the goal President Biden set to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to at least 70% of adults, the city’s Public Health Department reported. Almost 267,000 residents have been vaccinated, according to the city’s COVID-19 digital dashboard. But the 90805 ZIP Code, where Houghton Park is located, holds one of the lowest vaccination rates in the city, with only 48.6% having received at least one shot.
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