Buying cannabis will soon become as convenient as making a quick stop to the local Circle K. Today Green Thumb Industries, owner of RISE Dispensaries, announced plans to expand its footprint in Florida’s medical cannabis market through an agreement with Circle K.
Beginning next year, Green Thumb plans to launch its initial phase of the rollout with around 10 “RISE Express” dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores at various locations throughout Florida.
Bloomberg reports that as a dispensary located inside or adjacent to a gas station, it will be “a global first.” The only other locations where cannabis is sold legally is through regulated standalone dispensaries or inside pharmacies in a few select countries.
The Circle K and RISE Express dispensary will have separate entrances but be inside the same building.
Under the agreement, Green Thumb can lease space from Circle K in Florida, where there are about 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.
“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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”
Kovler was chosen to be awarded among the 2021 High Times 100 for his contributions to the cannabis space.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and established in 2014, Green Thumb has since opened 17 manufacturing facilities, as well as 77 open retail locations and operations across 15 U.S. markets.
The products available at these retail stores will be produced at a new 28-acre cultivation facility in Ocala that will be operational by the end of 2022.
Green Thumb entered the Florida market in 2018 and currently owns and operates medical cannabis retail stores in Bonita Springs, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Kendall, Oviedo, Pinellas Park and West Palm Beach. Green Thumb is also an existing cultivation and processing facility in Homestead.
According to the Florida Department of Health, over 700,000 Floridians are currently registered active cardholders in the state’s medical marijuana program. For more information on Florida’s medical marijuana program, visit www.knowthefactsmmj.com.
Circle K and Canada
The gas station chain embraced cannabis long before most similar retail chains took advantage. While it’s common to find CBD and hemp-derived products in some gas stations, THC is an entirely different story, as it’s regulated at the state level. Circle K leadership in Canada has already dabbled in the cannabis market multiple times.
In 2019, owner of the Circle K chain of retail stores, Canada’s multinational convenience-store business Alimentation Couche-Tard announced that it invested in Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., owners of the Fire & Flower Inc. cannabis retailer in Canada.
Fire & Flower also sold gift cards at Circle K locations that can be used to buy cannabis. Fire & Flower dispensaries announced cannabis gift cards sold at multiple, third-party retailers, including Circle K. The locations are in Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and there are about 300 locations carrying the cards as of January 2021. The cards are available in amounts ranging from $25 to $100, and more information about locations can be found on the Fire & Flower website.