Weed is coming to a gas station near you. Circle K, a global convenience store chain, recently signed a deal with Green Thumb Industries Inc., which is one of the largest United States cannabis producers, to be able to sell licensed marijuana at its Florida gas retailers. The deal will begin next year at 10 of the company's 600 locations in the state.
This deal will be the first of its kind in the world. Marijuana is currently only sold at standalone U.S. dispensaries and pharmacies in countries such as Uruguay and Germany. The goal is that by selling marijuana at gas stations where consumers buy staple items like snacks and cigarettes, the drug, which is currently still illegal at the federal level, will be pushed farther into the mainstream.
The partnership will help “continue to normalize” marijuana by integrating it with other popular consumer products. Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler said, “this is a futuristic deal.”
Coming to a Gas Station Near You
Under the agreement, Green Thumb will lease space within Circle K locations. The outposts will be known as “RISE Express” and will have a separate entrance from the gas station. Florida is one of several states where cannabis can legally be sold for medical reasons only, so purchases will be restricted to Florida residents who have medical marijuana cards. Gas stations seemed like a fitting choice for selling weed because they are already a location where many Americans shop for age-restricted items such as tobacco and alcohol.
Some gas stations have already ventured into the cannabis industry, selling CBD products that do not contain the psychoactive agent THC as well as Delta-8 times, which give consumers a high, but fall into a legal loophole because they are derived from hemp.
Kovler also stated that “there's appetite” from Circle K to take their agreement nationwide. The arrangement would also help Green Thumb beat out other multi-state competitors and build a national brand. Although it only allows cannabis to be sold for medical reasons, Florida is still the second-largest U.S. market for marijuana, following California.
Good for the Economy
The idea behind this deal is not only to normalize cannabis but also to help out the economy. Setting up these outposts in the Circle K gas stations will not only create more jobs but will also bolster the economic activity in the marijuana industry in that area.
In states like California and Nevada, where the infrastructure already exists, the economic impact has become more evident as the sector matures. A study done on Nevada showed that legalizing recreational marijuana could support over 41,000 jobs through 2024 and generate over $1.7 billion in labor income. A report by New Frontier suggests that the impact of federally legalizing marijuana could generate up to one million jobs by 2025.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.