National convenience store chain Circle K has signed a deal with Green Thumb Industries that will result in Circle K marijuana and CBD products becoming available (eventually) at all 600 locations in Florida.
The deal will begin with a pilot program in 10 Circle K stores in Florida. Canadian-based Green Thumb, which owns RISE Dispensaries, will offer RISE Express dispensaries adjacent to the Circle K stores. The stores will offer flower, pre-rolls, gummies and vapes starting sometime in 2023.
Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler said in a press release that the business deal is “a game-changer. The new RISE Express model is a huge step forward in making it easier and more efficient for patients to purchase high-quality cannabis as part of their everyday routine when stopping by their local convenience store.”
A Strong Presence in the Florida Market
Only medical marijuana is legal in Florida, although that could change. However, Florida consistently ranks among the states with the most cannabis-related jobs and marijuana revenue. That’s because, thanks in part to an older population, more than 700,000 people are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Chicago-based Green Thumb plans to manufacture products for Circle K marijuana sales at a new 28-acre production facility in Ocala, Florida. The company also already has an operational facility in Homestead. On the retail side, Green Thumb owns dispensaries in Bonita Springs, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Kendall, Oviedo, Pinellas Park and West Palm Beach.
But partnering with Circle K should raise awareness of the company and also provide more convenient access to Floridians. The dispensaries will have a separate entrance from the adjacent Circle K, much like some liquor stores have space next to a supermarket.
Not a First For Circle K
Circle K started with three stores in El Paso, Texas, in the 1950s, In 2003, Canadian company Couche-Tard purchased Circle K. According to CNN, since the purchase Circle K already has expanded into the cannabis market.
In 2021, Couche-Tard partnered with Canadian cannabis retailer Fire & Flower to offer cannabis dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores in Canada. Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal at the federal level in Canada.
The business deal is yet another sign of the mainstreaming of marijuana in the United States, making it available at the same place millions visit every day for water, soda and snacks. Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in 19 states and for medical use in 37 states. Voters in five states will decide in November 2022 whether to legalize recreational cannabis: Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maryland and Missouri.