Is Circle K about to change the legal weed game in a big way?
Circle K has reached agreement to lease space within its convenience stores in Florida for the purpose of dispensing medical marijuana to patients in the state.
The lease deal is with Green Thumb Industries, a cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner of 68 RISE Dispensaries operating in 12 states. The Circle K lease will enable Green Thumb to open 10 “test and learn” RISE Express dispensaries next year at stores with gas pumps.
Circle K operates about 600 stores in Florida, providing opportunities for Green Thumb to scale the Express concept. The addition of the Express locations will build on Green Thumb’s existing presence in Florida where it operates seven medical cannabis dispensaries.
“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,” Ben Kovler, founder, chairman and CEO of Green Thumb, said in a statement. “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.”
Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana put the number of registered patients in the state at 758,526 as of October 14.
Circle K’s deal with Green Thumb is not the first time that the convenience store chain has sought to capitalize on legal weed. Its parent, Alimentation Couche-Tard, signed a deal last year with the Canadian cannabis retailer Fire & Flower to open co-located cannabis stores adjacent to Circle Ks, including one last month in Brampton, Ontario.
“This convenience-based shopping model is a major step change in the industry and provides a competitive advantage for both Fire & Flower and Circle K in the transformation of the cannabis consumer shopping experience,” said Stéphane Trudel, Fire & Flower CEO. “Fire & Flower anticipates reaching a total of 10 Circle K co-located stores operating using its technology and brands within the next twelve months.”
Couche-Tard took a 9.9 percent stake in Fire & Flower Holdings in 2019 before boosting its stake to 35.32 percent in April.
Fire & Flower is looking to expand into the U.S. with deals to license its Hifyre technology to other cannabis operations and to open its own stores. The company currently operates a location in Palm Springs, CA, and has submitted applications to open five stores in New Mexico.
- Green Thumb to Launch “RISE Express” Dispensaries in Florida – Green Thumb Industries, Inc.
- OMMU Weekly Updates – Office of Medical Marijuana
- Spark Perks Launches in Circle K Co-Located Store in Greater Toronto Area – Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.
- Fire & Flower Announces Exercise of Series B Warrants By Circle K Owner Alimentation Couche-Tard – Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.
- Fire & Flower Announces U.S.Market Update and Hifyre technology To Be Launched in Colorado – Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Circle K’s move a game changer for the legal cannabis business? Do you expect other retailers in and outside of the convenience vertical to quickly move into the medical and recreational marijuana markets?