Photo: Rajul Punjabi

Meet the weed activists giving fat joints to vaccinated New Yorkers

It’s my well-researched hypothesis that some of the smartest people in the world are also stoners. On this sunny, warm 4/20 in NYC’s Union Square, I got a little more proof. Tweets about two dudes handing out joints to people with completed vaccination cards immediately sparked my interest. I darted over to the park, wondering who these venerable, science-revering Stoner Santas were.

I made my way through the crowd to meet Nikolas Schiller and Todd Hinden, the latter of who I dubbed the Marijuana Mayor (“I’d love to be mayor of New York actually,” he told me) because of his brazen sartorial tribute to ganja. Truly, who wouldn’t consider voting for a candidate in a three-piece suit with a fat blunt broach?

Hinden is a very dope cannabis activist, I learn, who volunteers his time to check vaxx cards in exchange for what I’d call some pretty healthy joints , which is great, because there’s nothing more demoralizing than a supermodel-shaped doobie.

Photo: Rajul Punjabi

Schiller is the co-founder or DCMJ, a Washington, D.C.-based cannabis justice organization that launched Joints for Jabs, the larger program that spawned this amazing concept of rewarding people who get vaccinated with a little herbal refreshment. Today, it’s a sativa-heavy strain called Rogue River, and people seem to be enjoying it. I quickly chatted with Schiller (I didn’t want to delay anyone’s joint) about how the plan came together and then made my way out of the park, my heart warm at the sight of cops derpily standing around, unable to thwart the inebriated fun, for once.

How’d you come up with the genius idea to reward vaccinated people with weed?

Well, a lot of people are anti-vaxx and we wanted to get away from that vaccine hesitancy. We also wanted to be able to share cannabis, which is something you do communcally with friends. We also want to be able to use cannabis as a form of activism. Everyone here is involved with grassroots activism.

The state of New York just passed a cannabis legalization law, however it doesn’t allow adults to be able to grow it themselves. We want to put pressure on the local government to allow adults to be able to grow it themselves so they don’t have to be reliant on corporate interests.

Do you think the weed will help with people’s vaccine side effects?

Anecdotally, it does help with people’s side effects. There’s even some science about how the cannabinoids can help with COVID-19. I don’t like to promote research that hasn’t been duplicated with a large group, though.

Photo: Rajul Punjabi

What’s the response been from people so far?

It’s a full city block that we’ve got of people in line waiting to receive a free joint that was donated by cannabis activists. Everyone’s been very supportive. We couldn’t really have a good 4/20 last year, even though it was 4/20/20, so on the calendar, it was the best looking 4/20 ever. And this year, we’re a little father in society, and we believe that we can be able to share cannabis safely now.