The benefits of getting vaccinated against Covid-19 — namely, protection against a dangerous virus — should be obvious by this stage in the pandemic.
If that isn’t sufficient motivation, consider the swag.
Businesses across the United States and beyond are offering free merchandise and other stuff to people who receive Covid shots. The perks include free rides, doughnuts, money, arcade tokens and even marijuana.
Experts in behavioral motivation say that offering incentives is not necessarily the most effective or cost-efficient way to increase vaccine uptake. But that hasn’t stopped the freebies from piling up.
In Cleveland, the Market Garden Brewery is offering 10-cent beers to the first 2021 people who show a Covid-19 vaccine certificate. “Yes, you read that right,” the brewery says on its website. “Ten Cents.”
prerolled joint until the end of the month.
Chobani provides free yogurt at some vaccination sites. And Krispy Kreme said on Monday that for the rest of the year, it would give one glazed doughnut per day to anyone who provides proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.
As vaccinations accelerated across the United States, “We made the decision that said, ‘Hey, we can support the next act of joy,’ which is, if you come by, show us a vaccine card, get a doughnut any time, any day, every day if you choose to,” the company’s chief executive, Michael Tattersfield, told Fox News.
The Krispy Kreme initiative is no relation to the “vaccinated doughnuts” that were sold last month by a bakery in Germany, garnished with plastic syringes that dispense a sweet, lemony-ginger amuse-bouche. It also does not entitle vaccinated Americans to endless doughnuts, as Mr. Tattersfield seemed to imply in his Fox News interview — just one per day, as the company notes on its website.
In a promotion it is calling “Tokens for Poke’ns,” Up-Down, a chain of bars featuring vintage arcade games, is offering $5 in free tokens to guests who present a completed vaccination card. Up-Down, which has six locations in five Midwestern states, is extending the offer to guests who visit within three weeks of their final dose.
Cleveland Cinemas, a movie-theater chain in Ohio, is offering a free 44-ounce popcorn at two of its locations to anyone who presents a vaccination card through April 30.
The Times of Israel reported.
Presenting cards for so many promotions might cause some wear and tear. To protect the cards from damage, Staples is offering to laminate them at no charge after customers have received their final dose. The promotion runs through May 1.
Some vaccine perks flow from corporations to their employees. Tyson Foods, Trader Joe’s and others pay for the time it takes them to get vaccinated, while Kroger pays them a $100 bonus.
study, Ms. Dai and her colleagues found that text messages could boost uptake of influenza vaccinations. The most effective texts were framed as reminders to get shots that were already reserved for the patient. They also resembled the kind of communication that patients expect to receive from health care providers.
Jon Bogard, a graduate student at U.C.L.A. who contributed to the study, said that policymakers should proceed with caution on incentives because they can sometimes backfire. One problem is that the campaigns are expensive, he said. Another is that people receiving shots could see a large incentive as a sign that “vaccines are riskier than they in fact are.”
A better alternative, Mr. Bogard said, could be handing out “low-personal-value, high-social-value” objects — like stickers and badges — that tap into a larger sense of “social motivation and accountability.”
There appears to be no shortage of such swag swirling around the world’s hospitals and vaccination clinics.
Hartford, Conn., people receiving shots can pick up an “I got my Covid-19 vaccination” sticker bearing the home team’s mascot, a goat.
If you aren’t satisfied with the vaccine-related style accouterment at your local clinic, there are plenty of options available for purchase online.
One badge — “I got my Fauci ouchi” — pays homage to America’s best-known doctor, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.
“Thanks, science,” says another.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico, a country carved up by cartels for decades, is poised to take a major step in drug policy. This week, the lower house of Congress approved a landmark bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make it the world’s largest legal market for the drug.
With legalization considered all but certain to win Senate and presidential approval, many in the business world are predicting a Mexican green boom: a newly legal industry providing tens of thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in profit for savvy entrepreneurs and welcome tax revenue for the government.
But many business analysts and economists are wary, and caution that the cannabis industry here is more likely to be a green blip than a boom. Opening a licit market would matter more legally and symbolically than economically, they argue, citing relatively low domestic demand and little chance of exporting the product, as well as seemingly restrictive regulatory measures.
“It’s hard to see any obvious broad effects” on the Mexican economy, said Jeffrey Miron, an economist at Harvard University. “You will see a little bit of a bump in measured G.D.P.,” he added, but “people claiming that it will be a big boost to the economy through legalization, I don’t think that makes sense at all.”
Erick Ponce, a Mexican entrepreneur and president of the Cannabis Industry Promotion Group, a local research and advocacy group.
“We definitely see it as an important economic boost for the country especially in the middle of a pandemic,” Mr. Ponce added.
According to a January report from a cannabis data analysis company, New Frontier Data, the Mexican marijuana industry could be worth as much as $3.2 billion dollars annually, and major cannabis companies like Canada’s Canopy Growth are already eyeing the market.
its own legalization in 2018, investors and analysts predicted a surge in cannabis cash, but the business has not been a rousing success.
national statistics agency estimated that consumers spent $918 million Canadian dollars (about $736 million U.S. dollars) on legal weed products, considerably less than was predicted before legalization. Earnings have been sluggish and most producers are still reporting losses worth millions. In December, Canopy Growth announced it was closing five facilities and laying off more than 200 employees in a bid to speed up profitability.
“The green rush part hasn’t materialized,” said Michael Armstrong, an associate professor at the Goodman School of Business at Ontario’s Brock University. “It’s been a positive boost for Canada, but not a dramatic one by any means.”
Official figures indicate that Canada, with a much smaller population, has many more regular users than Mexico: Prior to legalization, around 15 percent of Canadians said they had smoked marijuana in the past three months, according to the national statistics agency, a consumer base of more than 5 million potential users.
By contrast, a 2016 Mexican government study found that only about 1.2 percent of the population aged 12 to 65 said they had smoked pot in the previous month, and 2.1 percent, about 1.8 million, in the previous year.
Jorge Javier Romero Vadillo, a political scientist at Mexico’s Autonomous Metropolitan University. And “I don’t think this regulation process is going to substantially increase demand.”
The new law’s strict licensing requirements for cultivating, packaging and selling marijuana could keep small farmers and vendors out of the licit market, according to Mr. Romero.
“With the rules they want to apply, which are super restrictive, they’re going to open up a tiny market,” he said. “They’re rules that are so strict, with a barrier for entry that’s so high, that few are going to opt for entering the legal market.”
California, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2018, has had similar teething troubles: In the first year of legalization, legal vendors in the state sold $500 million dollars less worth of marijuana than in the year prior, when it was only permitted for medical use.
Strict regulation and high taxes kept the majority of California’s producers and vendors in the gray or black market, according to Daniel Sumner, director of the agricultural issues center at the University of California, Davis. In many communities, marijuana-related businesses faced fierce local opposition.
may be in medicinal cannabis, which has been legal in Mexico since 2017, as well as industrial hemp, which the new bill also regulates and could be used to produce everything from plastics to paper.
“The market for marijuana is a very small market,” said Guillermo Nieto, president of the National Association for the Cannabis Industry, a Mexico City-based trade group. “Agriculturally, it’s not going to help us like the legalization of industrial hemp.”
In the short-term, some businessmen say, Mexico’s biggest gains may be doing what Mexico already does best: manufacturing — in this case, potentially producing cannabis products like nutritional supplements and cosmetics.
Still, the greatest impact may be more symbolic than monetary: As the largest economy to legalize the drug to date, Mexico, with about 128 million people, could encourage other countries, including its northern neighbor, to follow suit.
“Sometimes it’s nerve-racking to be the first person to take a step into a pond that might be infested with sharks,” said Mr. Miron, the Harvard professor. “But if four or five other people have done it and it’s OK, then more people are going to give it a try.”
MEXICO CITY — Lawmakers in Mexico approved a bill Wednesday night to legalize recreational marijuana, a milestone for the country, which is in the throes of a drug war and could become the world’s largest cannabis market, leaving the United States between two pot-selling neighbors.
The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis.
The chamber approved the bill in general terms Wednesday evening before moving on to a lengthy discussion of possible revisions introduced by individual lawmakers. In its final form, though, the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.
The measure, as of Wednesday night, would allow adults to smoke marijuana and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home. It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop.
promised to scrap federal prohibition of the drug this year.
For “Mexico, given its size and its worldwide reputation for being damaged by the drug war, to take this step is enormously significant,” said John Walsh, director of drug policy for the Washington Office on Latin America, a U.S. advocacy group. “North America is heading toward legalization.”
according to recent polling.
the Council on Foreign Relations.
Legalization “is an important step toward building peace in a country like ours, where for at least a decade or more, we’ve been immersed in an absurd war,” said Lucía Riojas Martínez, a Mexican congresswoman who made headlines in 2019 when she gave a rolled joint to the country’s interior minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, after delivering a speech in Congress.
“But this bill falls short of achieving that,” she added.
published rules in January covering the growing and research of medicinal cannabis.
Local advocates say the restrictions on possession will limit the bill’s impact, particularly for low-income consumers, who may fall prey to extortion from the police, a regular occurrence in Mexico.
“We live in a country where corruption and extortion is the norm,” said Zara Snapp, co-founder of the RIA Institute, a Mexico-city based drug policy research and advocacy group.
Still, for many proponents in Mexico, approving the bill is a notable step in the long journey toward full legalization.
“It’s like when you’re running a marathon and you haven’t started — running the first meter helps to start the discussion,” said Mr. Sánchez, the marijuana businessman. “It means firing the starting gun, even if we still have 42 kilometers left to go.”