Couche-Tard Inc. wants to be one of the “key players” in the North American pot market by using its position in Canada — where use of the substance for recreational purposes is legal — to achieve this goal, says global news.
But because Quebec’s provincial rules restrict the sale of cannabis to government run stores, Couche-Tard will be unable to penetrate their own home market.
The expertise to be developed by the operator of convenience stores and gas stations in selling the drug will have to be done outside of Quebec, company founder and executive chairman Alain Bouchard said Wednesday following its annual meeting.
“I think it’s a shame for Quebec because this expertise will go outside Quebec,” he said. “When we deploy a network in the United States or any other activities in the U.S., it will come from outside Quebec.”
The Quebec multinational has also invested in Alberta retailer Fire & Flower, which could enable it to eventually acquire a majority stake in this company.
Even though the recreational cannabis market is still in its infancy, Couche-Tard wants to go out of its way to set up a strategy that is ready to be deployed where regulations allow it, Bouchard added.
“It’s still very small. We will learn from that and I really believe we can succeed.”
Circle K’s parent company has turned its focus to the United States, where recreational consumption of marijuana is legal in 13 states, says CEO Brian Hannasch, who noted the retailer has long experience selling age-restricted products. But it must take the time to know the rules of the game, he added.
“It’s kind of the Wild West, but I think we have a place in this market,” said Hannasch. But this is only the beginning. ”