Couche-Tard enters cannabis retail with Canopy Growth

A deal with an Ontario retail lottery winner will bring the Tweed banner to the province.
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Alimentation Couche-Tard, which operates the Couche-Tard and Circle K convenience banners, has established an agreement with one of Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery winners and partnered with Canopy Growth to launch a recreational cannabis store in the province.

Couche-Tard has entered into a trademark license agreement with the lottery winner, located in London, Ont., who will have full ownership and control over the store. Through a multi-year agreement with Canopy Growth, the store will appear under the licensed producer’s Tweed brand.

Canopy Growth currently has bricks-and-mortar Tweed locations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. It also operates the “Tweed Visitors Centre” at its main facility in Smiths Falls, Ont., though it is not yet permitted to sell recreational cannabis to consumers at that site.

The Ontario government announced the 25 lottery winners who would be permitted to pursue the first cannabis retail licenses in the provinces last month. While all the opportunities were awarded to private citizens, the government planned to charge stiff fines to any applicants who didn’t open their stores by April 1, and even stiffer ones to those who didn’t open by the end of April. This presented an opportunity for cannabis companies to reach out to these winners and gauge their interest in partnering up to provide knowledge and resources to get stores open by April 1.

So far this month, cannabis retail companies have established some kind of deal with at least six of the other lottery winners.

The Tweed store in London will, like its other locations, carry softgels, oils and dried flower cannabis products, along with a selection of accessories. From a brand perspective, the store will continue to enforce Tweed’s focus on quality, customer service and education.

Mark Zekulin, president and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, said in a statement that Couche-Tard will “advise and assist” in helping establish its retail presence in the southwestern Ontario city. For Couche-Tard, it gets to lean on Canopy Growth’s experience in recreational cannabis, both from a consumer insights and a compliance perspective.