Governments have been trying to come up with different ways to say "thank you" to their citizens who decide to get the vaccine to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. In some countries, people can take part in lotteries with rewards like cars or get a thank-you barbeque sausage sandwich.
But some U.S. states took a risk and went for a more creative solution. How did they encourage people to get vaccinated? By offering free cannabis!
The pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves.
Some of us might have discovered that we're great at crocheting or cooking. Some of us might have finally got the time to take up yoga or meditation, while others have learnt the true joy of a relaxing evening with a puzzle.
But some of us got a little too comfortable with this new way of life. The idea of stepping out of our cosy homes, getting the vaccination, and then going back to our old, busy lives suddenly didn't feel exciting anymore.
That is why, to make sure that the number of vaccinated citizens keeps growing, governments had to get creative.
To encourage the citizens who postponed getting their first vaccination to get it as soon as possible, Washington state decided to start a very out-of-the-box campaign called "Joints for Jabs".
Quickly joined by Arizona, these two states awarded every citizen over 21 with a cannabis participation prize! However, Washington only offered joints (which are similar to rolled cigarettes but instead of tobacco, cannabis is used), whereas Arizona offered both joints and edibles (to satisfy the needs of people looking for a healthier way of consuming cannabis).
Cannabis with high THC levels is not legal in Europe, which means that a "Joints for Jabs" campaign would never be tolerated or allowed. But hemp - a variety of the cannabis plant with high CBD and low THC levels - is legal.
This means that many European governments could have easily used hemp products as an incentive! Offering CBD oils, hemp cosmetics, or vaporizers would have probably been welcomed by many.
Was this an opportunity missed? Maybe.
Even though no European resident was ever offered a free joint for a jab, the Covid-19 pandemic did help us learn something new about the importance of cannabis in Europe.
When the first lockdown was announced in the Netherlands, people around the world queued up for groceries and other essentials. But, unlike in other European countries, many Dutch citizens decided to skip stockpiling on toilet paper and instead stockpiled on cannabis. And to do so, they spent hours queuing in front of the famous Dutch coffee shops.
Dutch politicians noticed and decided to include coffee shops in the list of essential businesses, allowing them to stay open throughout the lockdown.
Unfortunately, coffee shops were not involved in any pro-vaccination campaigns. Instead, the government decided to reward vaccinated people with some pickled herring. But it's never too late. Let's hope for a more exciting Booster Campaign!