Circle K decided it will start leasing space for cannabis dispensaries at its Florida stores through a partnership with Green Thumb Industries Inc. This move has the potential to help thrust cannabis more onto the mainstream population’s radar.
The test and learn phase of the rollout will begin in 2023 with approximately 10 “RISE Express”-branded dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores in various Florida locations.
Through the exclusive agreement, Circle K will lease space to Green Thumb in Florida, where the chain currently operates approximately 600 locations. The “RISE Express” stores will offer patients a selection of branded cannabis products including RYTHM premium flower, Dogwalkers pre-rolls, incredibles gummies and &Shine vapes.
Headquartered in Chicago, Green Thumb has 17 manufacturing facilities, 77 open retail locations and operations across 15 U.S. markets.
“The opening of RISE Express stores at Circle K locations is a game-changer. Convenience is a strong channel in retail, and people want more access to cannabis,” said Green Thumb Founder, Chairman and CEO Ben Kovler. “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.”
The products available at these retail stores will come from Green Thumb’s new 28-acre cultivation facility in Ocala, Fla., that will be operational by the end of 2022.
As only medical cannabis is legal in Florida, these dispensaries will be selling licensed medical cannabis. According to the Florida Department of Health, over 700,000 Floridians are currently registered active cardholders in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,100 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. With its well-known Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States.