Circle K Stores to Be Part of Medical Cannabis Pilot in Florida

Green Thumb will roll out 10 RISE Express branded dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores.
Circle K_RISE Express teaser

LAVAL, Québec — Green Thumb Industries Inc., owner of RISE Dispensaries, will expand its medical retail footprint in Florida through a lease agreement with Circle K.

Starting next year, Green Thumb plans to launch a test and learn phase of the rollout of approximately 10 RISE Express branded dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores across the Sunshine State.

Through the exclusive agreement, Green Thumb can lease space from Circle K in Florida, where the convenience store retailer operates approximately 600 stores. Green Thumb is a cannabis consumer packaged goods company.

"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 Ben Kovler, founder, chairman and CEO of Green Thumb. "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."

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 products available at these stores will come from Green Thumb's new 28-acre cultivation facility in Ocala, Fla., which 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. The company also has an existing cultivation and processing facility in Homestead.

Citing the Florida Department of Health, more than 700,000 Floridians are currently registered active cardholders in the state's medical marijuana program, according to Green Thumb.

Headquartered in Chicago, Green Thumb has 17 manufacturing facilities, 77 retail locations and operations across 15 U.S. markets. It was established in 2014.

Expansion of Cannabis Partnerships

The lease agreement with Green Thumb is another move in Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s (ACT) strategic cannabis expansion. Couche-Tard, parent company of Circle K, entered into a venture with Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., an independent cannabis retailer, in 2019. As part of the partnership, ACT provides Fire & Flower with additional capital to further accelerate its expansion strategy.

Last year, Circle K and Fire & Flower expanded upon their pilot program, through which the latter opens cannabis retail stores adjacent to existing Circle K convenience stores located in new markets across Canada.

The first two co-located stores, in Calgary and Grand Prairie, Alberta, utilized ACT's existing lease footprint to build a small-scale Fire & Flower retail operation.

The expansion will bring new co-located retail stores to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The agreement also allows for the opportunity to further expand the program into additional high-value markets, including Ontario and the United States.

Laval-based Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,100 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. It is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, as well as in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics and Ireland.