Next year, when consumers in Florida pick up a soda, chips or a candy bar when they load up for gas at Circle K gas station stores, they’ll be able to add another new item – licensed medical weed.
Circle K, a Canadian convenience store and gas station operator, is teaming up with a leading cannabis packaged goods company, Green Thumb Industries, to sell marijuana at a limited number of locations in 2023.
The rollout of the pilot with begin with 10 locations where Green Thumb will set up its RISE Express dispensaries adjacent to the Circle K convenience stores. Circle K has 600 locations in the state.
Customers can buy a number of cannabis products, including flower (smokable cannabis buds), pre-rolls, gummies and vapes at the 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,” Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler, 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,” he added.
Selling marijuana is still illegal under federal law but Florida is among several states where its sale for medical use is legal. More than 700,000 Floridians are currently registered active cardholders in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the Florida Department of Health.
This isn’t Circle K’s first expansion into the cannabis market. In 2021, Circle K’s parent company Couche-Tard expanded a pilot program with Canadian cannabis retailer Fire & Flower to open cannabis retail stores adjacent to its Circle K convenience stores in new markets across Canada.