In states with legal cannabis, consumers and patients have traditionally only been able to secure lawful purchases through state-licensed cannabis dispensaries. However, a new deal announced Wednesday between Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI), one of the largest cannabis producers in the U.S., and Circle K, a global convenience store chain, is about to change that.
According to a Bloomberg
GTI first entered the Florida market in 2018, with 77 open retail locations operating across 15 U.S. markets overall. The products available at the select Circle K locations will come from the company’s new 28-acre cultivation facility in Ocala, which will be operational by the end of 2022,
GTI and Circle K Further Cannabis Normalization
Though the move could very well create a domino effect — given the gas stations already have staple items like snacks, drinks and medications, or other substances like tobacco and alcohol — pushing cannabis further into the mainstream and making it more accessible.
GTI CEO Ben Kovler told Bloomberg that the deal will indeed “continue to normalize” cannabis by integrating its sale with other consumer product staples, adding, “This is a futuristic deal.” He also
One of the first questions that might arise, given the history of the cannabis industry and its rules on compliance: How is this legal?
Consumers expecting to pop into a Circle K and find a new cannabis section situated just beside the array of other items at the store may be in for disappointment. For one, Florida is still a medical-only market, so purchases will be restricted to Floridians with medical cannabis cards, about 700,000 residents.
The Green Thumb outposts, to be dubbed “RISE Express,” will also have a separate entrance from the gas stations.
Aside from alcohol and tobacco sales already facilitated at convenience stores around the country, many already also
While the initial rollout will take place in the Sunshine State, Koveler said “there’s appetite” from Circle K stores to expand to other states. GTI has already made similar moves in Canada, which has legalized cannabis recreationally. Namely, the chain has
The news comes just after President Joe Biden
Stifel’s Andrew Partheniou said it was the “first significant regulatory data point” since Biden’s announcement, adding that the “optics of having co-located banners” could aid in societal acceptance of cannabis in the future, via Bloomberg. Green Thumb Industries could also see unique benefits to its brand, as it competes with other large operators to gain national recognition.
According to Market Watch, shares of Green Thumb Industries are down 51 percent this year, though Bloomberg reports that shares were up as much as 11 percent in Wednesday trading.
Even with medical sales alone, Florida is the second-largest cannabis market in the U.S., behind California.
As we know in the cannabis world, things tend to be slow moving, but the outcome of this rollout could indicate a serious shift in the U.S. industry at large. Whether this deal truly becomes a transformative catalyst, ushering in cannabis offerings at gas stations around the country? Only time will tell.