Source: Get Budding/UnSplash
business

Couche-Tard Eyes Selling Marijuana as Legalization Looms

  • Couche-Tard experienced with age-restricted products, CEO says
  • Company hires lobbyist ahead of pot sale regulations

Canadian convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is considering getting into the marijuana business.

The company is exploring the possibility of selling marijuana at some of its locations, said Chief Executive Officer Brian Hannasch. Couche-Tard, which owns the Circle K stores, is also gathering information about what role the company could play in U.S. states that are moving toward legalization, he said.

“We view ourselves as serving the communities very well and we have a lot of skills at selling age-restricted products -- being in most markets beer and in most markets tobacco,” Hannasch told reporters following the company’s annual meeting in Montreal. “So to the extent society needs us to provide that service, we think we’d be wanting to do it with the right regulations in place, with the right expectations.”

Quebec has yet to announce how it will regulate and distribute sales of marijuana when Canada moves to legalize recreational sales by next July. Ontario has said it will open as many as 150 government-run pot stores and allow online purchases.

Couche-Tard -- French term for a “Night Owl” -- runs a network of convenience stores in North America and Europe. The legal marijuana market is growing fast and customers are “saying that’s what they want and voting for what they want,” Hannasch said.

“We need to make sure that the consumer understands what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and that it does not damage the brand,” he said.

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