Circle K, Green Thumb Plan Medical Marijuana Outlets next to Florida stores

Convenience store chain Circle K has reached an agreement with cannabis producer and distributor Green Thumb Industries to open medical marijuana outlets in retail space adjacent to Circle K stores in Florida.

Green Thumb, owner of Rise Dispensaries, will supply the herb to gas station outlets from its new 28-acre grow facility in Ocala, Florida. The opening of the pottery is scheduled for the end of this year.

Green Thumb will lease space adjacent to Circle K stores for its new Rise Express outlets, which will offer the company’s branded RHYTHM cannabis flower, Dogwalkers pre-rolls, Incredible gummies and medical-use Shine vapes.

The companies said Ryan Express will roll out the business in 2023 with a pilot program involving 10 of Circle K’s 600 convenience stores in Florida.

According to the partners, Rise Express outlets will be next to Circle K stores but will have a separate entrance and cannot be entered from inside Circle K stores – a similar setup to that deployed by Publix supermarkets and stores. Publix Liquor.

“To be clear, Circle K does not sell cannabis in its US stores,” a Circle K spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch.

To be clear, Circle K does not sell weed in its US stores. He exclusively rents out part of his property to a cannabis grower to sell weed at outlets adjacent to Circle K convenience stores — with separate entrances — so regular Circle K customers can easily access the weed. they need for medical purposes.

“Convenience is a strong channel in retail, and people want better access to cannabis,” Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb, said in a statement.

“The new Rise Express model makes it easier and more efficient for patients to purchase high-quality cannabis as part of their daily routine when they stop by their local convenience store,” Kovler said.

Easier and more efficient, one door away, but not inside the Circle K store, although the number of steps you’ll have to walk from your parking spot is probably equidistant.

Selling weed next to convenience store outlets would be a first in the country; so far, states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana — or both — have limited the sale of weed- and THC-containing products to state-licensed dispensaries that are typically stand-alone facilities.

Florida voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2017; the sale of smoking flowers did not begin until 2019, with edibles arriving at weed dispensaries in 2020. Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Florida.

Chicago-based Green Thumb, a domestic producer that entered the Florida market in 2018, has medical dispensaries in seven locations. In addition to the new farm in Ocala, the company grows weed at a facility in Homestead, Florida.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in 19 states, Washington DC and Guam; medical marijuana is legal in 38 states.

Luz W. German