ACT UP Lights Up “Joints for Jabs” Again

Brandon Cuicchi assists folks in line waiting to get their joint.
Donna Aceto

Now that’s an incentive to get vaccinated!

After marching in an annual Cannabis Parade in Manhattan on May 1, ACT UP New York set up shop at Union Square and handed out hundreds of free marijuana joints to those with proof of COVID vaccination. It was similar to a widely-attended 4/20 event of the same kind — and activists felt that hosting another event would again raise awareness about the vaccine. It looks like it won’t be the last one, either.

“Joints For Jabs 1 was so successful that we want to continue the program through the summer to encourage vaccination among medicinal and recreational marijuana users and young people,” ACT UP’s Brandon Cuicchi, one of the event’s organizers, said in a written statement ahead of the event. “Now that vaccine demand is slowing, it’s clear that vaccines will need to go where people already congregate such as parks and public spaces in order to reach them.”

ACT UP’s Kellen Gold and Jason Rosenberg help vaccinated folks pick up their free joint.Donna Aceto

“We distributed around 300 joints to people over 21 showing proof of COVID vaccination,” ACT UP wrote in a Facebook post after the May 1 event. “Stay tuned for the announcement of #joints4jabs 3, where we’re hoping to offer walk-up vaccines on demand.”

Organizers said they are in discussions with the city’s Department of Health to vaccinate folks on site at future “Joints for Jabs” event.

“We know that young people are hesitant to get the COVID vaccine, especially if their families are, so rather than relying on the fear of getting COVID, we want to encourage them to get vaccinated in a positive way,” Kellen Gold of ACT UP said in a written statement.

Activists are also advocating for city-based legislation permitting cannabis to be grown in vacant lots, which would allow folks to cultivate plants and provide free or cheap marijuana to folks who need it medicinally as well as others.

ACT UP has been among many groups pushing President Joe Biden to commit to global COVID-19 vaccine access at a time when vaccination availability across the globe is uneven, raising the likelihood that the pandemic will continue to impact communities worldwide for years to come.

Brandon Cuicchi and Kellen Gold prepares goodies at the “Joints for Jab” tent.Donna Aceto
Rainbows with an emphasis on the green stripe!Donna Aceto
A huge floating joint at the annual Cannabis Parade.Donna Aceto
Dedicated marchers showed up for the Cannabis Parade.Donna Aceto
The sign says it all.Donna Aceto

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