Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. says it wants to be a key player in the North American cannabis market by using its position in Canada, where recreational cannabis use is legal.
But Couche-Tard will have to develop the required expertise outside of Quebec, reports the Globe and Mail. This is because provincial rules restrict marijuana sales to government-run stores and through online channels.
“I think it’s a shame for Quebec because this expertise will go outside Quebec,” company founder and executive chairman Alain Bouchard told the Globe and Mail. “When we deploy a network in the United States or any other activities in the U.S., it will come from outside Quebec.”
Because of these challenges, Alimentation Couche-Tard has instead chosen to invest in Fire & Flower, an Alberta retailer. It also has a partnership with Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth.
Couche-Tard already sells products based on cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that has potential medicinal qualities – but does not have high levels of THC, which produces the ‘high’ – in some U.S. and Ireland stores.