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Circle K deal to sell medical cannabis at Florida gas stations ‘has not been approved by the state’

Oct 26, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

‘Florida has never approved a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center to operate out of a gas station’

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Florida’s 700,000 plus medical cannabis consumers may have to wait yet to be able to grab cannabis while they fuel up.

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Earlier this month, Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries Inc. announced plans to open ten RISE Dispensaries across Florida through a lease agreement with convenience store retailer Circle K.

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Circle K operates about 600 locations across the state and Green Thumb announced the leased spaces would carry a selection of branded cannabis products, but according to the Washington Examiner, the state has yet to approve the plan.

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A spokesperson for the state’s Health Department told the Examiner that the “project has not been approved by the State.”

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“Florida has never approved a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center to operate out of a gas station,” they added.

Under the proposed plan, Green Thumb would operate the dispensaries adjacent to Circle K locations in space leased from the company and only those with a valid medical marijuana card would be able to access the stores.

Florida legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2016, but recreational use remains prohibited.

A Green Thumb spokesperson told the Examiner that “the opening of RISE Express stores remains subject to regulatory approval.”

It’s not the first venture into cannabis for Alimentation Couche-Tard, which operates 15,000 convenience stores predominantly across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

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In July 2019, the company invested just under $26 million in Fire & Flower, obtaining a 9.9 per cent stake in the company, with the option of raising its stake to 50.1 per cent with additional investment.

Last year, about 300 Circle K stores across Canada began carrying cannabis gift cards for Fire & Flower and, earlier this month, Fire & Flower opened a dispensary directly adjacent to a Circle K location in Brampton, Ont. 

According to the company, it’s the first of ten Fire & Flower and Circle K co-located stores set to open within the next 12 months, with additional pilot stores currently operating in Alberta.

“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,” Stéphane Trudel, CEO of Fire & Flower said in a statement.

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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