Just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes out and does something that makes your head spin. A case in point are the growing number of marijuana dispensaries offering free weed to anyone who produces a valid coronavirus vaccine card. Some of us would never have expected it when the whole coronavirus thing started in 2020. But here we are.
Is free weed for getting vaccinated a good idea? At the risk of starting a heated debate that will never be reconciled, this writer says ‘no’. Recreational marijuana use is already a polarizing issue. We don’t need to further divide the country by rewarding vaccinated people with free weed. Come to think of it, they shouldn’t be rewarded with anything. If the vaccine is so important to them, they will get it without a reward.
Free Weed Is Limited
Before going any further, it must be made clear that the free weed offer is limited. It is limited in the sense that not every marijuana dispensary is willing to get on board with the plan. It is also limited in the sense that it’s only possible in states where recreational use is allowed.
Dispensaries in Arizona, California, Michigan, and a few other states are offering the free weed. They are doing so with their respective state’s blessing. On the other hand, you will not find it in Utah. Utah medical weed is highly regulated to the extent that even patients with valid medical cannabis cards cannot smoke it. Recreational use is out of the question.
Furthermore, even if a dispensary like Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy wanted to give product away for free, Utah’s strict controls on how much a person can possess at one time would make monitoring the giveaway too difficult to be practical. Kudos to Utah regulators for doing it right.
Why Not Free Booze?
Now, getting back to why free weed in exchange for vaccinations is not a good idea, ask yourself this: why not give away free booze? Alcohol is legal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. It is legal in Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, etc. Yet there aren’t any widespread reports of liquor stores offering free pints to anyone who brings in a vaccination card.
You are not going to see it, either. Why? Because the public outcry would be deafening. And by the way, rightly so. Giving away free booze in exchange for a vaccination card blatantly promotes irresponsible drinking. We don’t want to do that because we know what it could lead to.
But wait. If irresponsible drinking can lead to things like alcoholism and drunk driving, can irresponsible marijuana use not lead to the same sorts of things? Absolutely. There is a reason DWI (driving while intoxicated) has been replaced in legal terminology by DUI (driving under the influence) and impaired driving. You can be impaired by marijuana just as easily as alcohol. A car accident caused by marijuana impairment can be just as deadly.
Illegal and Dangerous
Despite medical marijuana legalization in thirty-six states and legal recreational use in eighteen, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal and dangerous in all fifty. That has not changed. Hopefully it will never change. Knowing that, should we be any less careless with marijuana? No.
No one is out promoting the idea of giving away free alcohol in exchange for proving vaccination. We shouldn’t be giving away free weed either. To do so is to trivialize the fact that marijuana is a psychoactive substance that, when used irresponsibly, can have devastating effects.