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Marijuana coming to Circle K gas stations, a first for cannabis industry

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Floridians will soon be able to buy marijuana products along with cigarettes and snacks at Circle K gas stations, according to Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest U.S. cannabis producers. 

Under a new partnership between the companies, starting next year weed will be sold at 10 "RISE Express" dispensaries with separate entrances from the gas stations, Chicago-based Green Thumb announced on Wednesday. Depending on how consumers respond, the cannabis retailer "could expand to more Circle K locations," Ben Kovler, the company's CEO, told CBS MoneyWatch Friday in an email.

Circle K's owner, Alimentation Couche-Tard, has more than 7,000 stores in 47 states, with 642 locations in Florida, according to its website

The Quebec, Canada-based company confirmed the agreement for Green Thumb to lease 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."

Among the products that will be for sale are marijuana flower, pre-rolls, gummies and vapes, which Green Thumb will supply from a 28-acre facility the company is building in Ocala, Florida, that's slated to be up and running by the end of 2022.

The deal with Circle K will make 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," according to Kovler.

Still illegal on the federal level, marijuana is sold legally in Florida for medical use, with nearly 560,000 Floridians currently possessing a medical marijuana card, according to the Florida Department of Health.

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Marijuana is sold in stand-alone dispensaries in parts of the U.S. that have legalized it, with cannabis allowed for medical use in 37 states and for adult recreational use in 19 others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

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