Washington state’s plan to offer free pot to residents to receive the coronavirus vaccine drew a fierce rebuke from a long-time critic of marijuana use.
“I mean this is beyond stupid,” former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.
“It’s actually unethical for several reasons. First of all, it’s unethical to try to induce someone to try to take a vaccine that has not been fully approved whether you do it with cash or joints or anything else. That’s unethical,” he continued. (RELATED: Companies Selling Fake COVID Vaccine Cards. Using One Can Land You In Jail For Years)
The cannabis inducement program has been dubbed “joints for jabs.” The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced Monday that licensed marijuana outlets in the state would be temporarily authorized to provide one joint of marijuana, free of charge, to customers who have had their vaccine. They must be at least 21 years old.
“The LCB received multiple requests from cannabis retail licensees to engage in promotions to support state vaccination efforts,” the LCB said in a statement. The allowance is effective immediately and ends July 12.
Berenson said the plan is “doubly unethical” because cannabis is not just addictive but is “dangerous to some people,” adding that it can produce psychotic reactions in some users and “raise the risk of heart attacks shortly after use.”
The author also claimed that the program is “not going to work” since other financial and cash inducements to receive the vaccine have not pushed up the public’s willingness to get it. “Vaccinations have been falling since April,” he noted, adding that “they are headed towards zero.”
“All the money and all the joints and all the marketing in the world can’t stop that people, you know, people … who have not been vaccinated yet don’t want to be vaccinated in the United States. That’s quite clear. And the government and business and everyone else is just going to have to accept that. You know, it’s a free country.” (RELATED: Vaccination Rate Sees ‘Dramatic Increase’ After Lottery Announcement In Ohio)
Washington is not unique in offering inducements to their citizens to get the coronavirus vaccine. West Virginia plans a raffle of five custom-made hunting rifles and five custom-made shotguns. The winner will be a state resident who has received his or her first or second vaccine. Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is also offering a $100 saving bond for anyone in the state between the ages of 16 to 35 who receives the vaccine.