Circle K gas stations to test out marijuana pop-up shops in Florida in 2023

Night photo of a Circle K gas station – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by: Trygve Finkelsen

Beginning sometime in 2023, about 10 Circle K gas stations in Florida will partner with legal cannabis retailer, Green Thumb Industries, on in-store marijuana products.

“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,” Green Thumb said in a press release.

Cannabis sales in states where it is legal to sell often have to be conducted in regulated, standalone shops. The new Rise Express stores that Green Thumb will open in certain gas stations will be a much smaller version of these storefronts, offering pre-rolls, flower, vapes, and edibles. Only those with a medical card will be able to purchase marijuana at these locations because Florida currently allows medical marijuana, not recreational.

The business from Quebec, Canada, confirmed the arrangement for Green Thumb to rent out adjacent space to its stores in Florida. “To be clear, Circle K is not selling cannabis in its U.S. stores,” a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.

The agreement with Circle K is “the first example of premium cannabis retail being offered in one of the largest convenience store chains in the country,” Kovler emailed. “Convenience stores are one of the fastest growing shopping verticals and we’re excited to meet cannabis consumers where they are.”

Some local jurisdictions in the Sunshine State have decriminalized marijuana and reduced the consequences for those found to have under 20 grams of the drug. In Florida, over 700,000 people are active medical marijuana cardholders.

Since Circle K runs around 600 stores throughout Florida, Green Thumb, which currently operates a small number of retail locations, claimed it could increase the number of its Rise Express dispensaries. The marijuana will be grown at Green Thumb’s Ocala cultivation facility and will be ready for business by the end of this year. Green Thumb has a current production and processing facility in Homestead and has been selling marijuana in Florida since 2018. 

The biggest advantage of selling marijuana at Circle K gas stations, according to Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler, is simply “convenience.”

“The new Rise Express model [makes] 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 said.

Circle K has over 7,000 stores in 47 states throughout the country. 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Cannabis is allowed for adult recreational use in 19 states and medical use in 37 states.

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