Alissa Portillo

Opinions Editor

Imagine walking by a Circle K and buying Mary Jane…well, starting next year, you can. But, as of right now, this is only provided for Florida residents. For those of you who were ready for this to happen in Los Angeles, you will not be able to buy Mary Jane in our sad LA. 

Green Thumb is one of the largest cannabis producers and it has recently signed a business agreement with Circle K to sell legalized marijuana products through Florida’s Circle K locations starting next year in 2023. It was stated that Green Thumb plans on using a new system called, ‘RISE Express’, which will be “branded dispensaries adjacent to Circle K stores in various Florida locations”.RISE Express’ will offer “a selection of branded cannabis products, including RHYTHM premium flower, Dogwalkers pre-rolls, Incredibles gummies and Shine vapes.” However, in opposition with other news, according to USA Today, “[t]hose RISE Express dispensaries will be located adjacent to some Circle K stores. The dispensaries will have a separate entrance and cannot be entered from inside the Circle K.” This means that marijuana products will not be sold out of Circle K locations but will be next to Circle K. Now, out of 600 locations throughout the state, there will first be ten locations that will begin to sell the marijuana products. Green Thumb claims that this new deal will be a great game-changing opportunity for both Circle K and Green Thumb given that convenience stores are high in retail and consumers want more access to marijuana products. The deal then is a win-win.

Not to rain on the excitement, but I think this is a terrible idea. Of course, our economy and businesses strive to achieve their goals of consumerism and the maximization of their values. But, are these goals more important than the safety and health of people? Apparently, they are when this should not be the case. Putting marijuana products in conjunction with Circle K, which is a convenience store and gas station, is just prone to sending people off to drive while under the influence. This deal is just accepting the use of marijuana while driving. I can assure you that even though each marijuana product shines a warning to not use it while driving or in situations in which you can harm yourself or others, people do not listen. Ask yourself this; how many times have you seen someone smoking while driving or heard someone mention they were or were with someone under the influence of marijuana while driving? Personally, I see this quite often.

Sadly, there will always be someone who says the infamous smoker comment saying: “If you can’t drive high then smoking ain’t for you”. As if somehow this comment is meant to validate the tolerance of a person or even challenge those who identify as smokers. Yet these same people who comment on this completely disregard the slightest possibility of causing collisions while driving. These people lack common sense and sound idiotic with this comment. According to Fisher and Talwar: “More than 40 percent of all drivers who are killed in motor vehicle collisions in California test positive for legal or illegal drugs.” Not just this, but “[r]ecreational marijuana users who drive after using the drug are 25 percent to 35 percent more likely than other motorists to be involved in a collision.” Yet, people continue to drive while under the influence of weed. Why? To feel relaxed, listen to music, and just chill while driving? This is not enough justification to do so. People need to stop being so egocentric and take into consideration the innocent mom, daughter, father, son, and person who is at risk of losing their life to someone who just wanted to smoke and drive. 

The decision to contribute to the likelihood of this occurring more repeatedly by offering an outlet to access marijuana products will just continue to reinforce the approval of both the temptation and decision to smoke while driving or driving under the influence of marijuana. In 2018, the CDC stated, “approximately 12 million (4.7%) U.S. residents aged ≥16 years reported driving under the influence of marijuana”. However, we can assume the numbers have increased within the past three years. Yet, some still think it is a smart decision to make marijuana more accessible, especially within a gas station environment. It seems significantly damaging if you ask me.

I think it is time for businesses to start considering the well-being of people above the profit and value of some cash. 

Photo Courtesy of The Hill.

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