New York Launches Joint for Vaccine Campaign


In Manhattan, marijuana legalization activists launched the “One Joint for a Vaccine” campaign, in which they distributed one joint to anyone who could prove they had received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. The campaign also marks the legalization of recreational cannabis use in New York State, from the end of March, but also on April 20, the unofficial day of marijuana (“4/20” are the numbers that have become a code to designate the use of this light drug).

“This is the first time we can sit back and share joints legally,” says Michael O’Malley, one of the organizers, as he distributes the joints prepared in advance by several volunteers.

“We support the federal government’s vaccination efforts and at the same time try to get them to legalize cannabis.”

When the distribution began on Tuesday, around 11 o’clock in the morning, a queue of about fifty people, young and old, all in good spirits, had formed in Union Square, at the gates of Greenwich Village. During the five hours, those interested were able to move quickly: about ten minutes of waiting in the sun, as long as you show a vaccination card, on paper or on your smartphone and indicate your e-mail address. There was no thorough checking or checking to see if some were queuing twice:

“We’re not too careful,” Mr. O’Malley admits. Sarah Overholt, 38, left with two joints in her pocket: she also showed her vaccination card to her 70-year-old mother.

For her, no doubt, marijuana and the vaccine are just as essential. “I smoke every day and that makes me a better person, believe me,” she says with a smile.

As for the vaccine, “everyone should be vaccinated, there should be no need for grass to persuade people to do it, but if it works, then that’s fine,” says a 30-year-old woman who received the first dose on March 25 and is waiting to receive the second. Alex Zerbe, 24, a businessman who came from his nearby office, agrees. He has already taken the two doses and smokes a joint “once or twice a day”. “I could find a joint anytime,” but the idea of offering one to people who have been vaccinated “is cool,” he says.

For her, no doubt, marijuana and the vaccine are just as essential. From the first half hour, 150-200 joints were distributed, out of about 1,500 prepared by volunteers. In recent weeks, several US brands, especially in the food sector, have launched vaccine-related promotions: donuts, hot dogs or beers are, in different parts of the country, offered to people who have proof of vaccination.

Chris Black
Chris Black
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."