Cannabis retailer Green Thumb has partnered with Circle K to launch an initial 10 RISE Express medical dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores in Florida. The agreement allows Green Thumb to lease space from Circle K in Florida, where the c-store retailer operates approximately 600 locations, to offer patients a selection of branded cannabis products.
The pilot stores will begin opening in 2023 and carry products including RYTHM premium flower, Dogwalkers pre-rolls, incredibles gummies and &Shine vapes. Green Thumb will source the items from a 28-acre cultivation facility in Ocala, Fla. that will be operational by the end of 2022.
“The opening of RISE Express stores at Circle K locations is a game-changer,” said Ben Kovler, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Green Thumb in a statement. “Convenience is a strong channel in retail, and people want more access to cannabis. 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.”
More than 700,000 Floridians are active cardholders in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the Florida Department of Health. Green Thumb currently operates seven dispensaries and one cultivation and processing facility in the state, and the partnership will help it expand its presence to new markets.
Circle K could be positioning itself as a mainstream retailer that’s prepared to benefit from the rapid growth of the cannabis industry, which made between $24.5 and $27 billion in 2021, according to data from the MJBiz Factbook. The trend has been for more states to legalize usage for medical and recreational reasons, and even federal regulations may ease.
“Every year we see at least several states legalize one way or another,” said Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBizDaily in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That means new markets. That means new business opportunities for people who are not in cannabis and who see this industry and its potential.”