Circle K’s deal with Green Thumb Industries to sell cannabis at some of its Florida gasoline retail locations may be a sign the industry has finally crossed any remaining mainstream barriers.
Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler told Bloomberg the deal will “continue to normalize” cannabis by integrating it with mainstream products.
It’s a sign of progress for the cannabis industry. However, having cannabis in gas stations also poses some new risks. Those risks run the gamut, from the obvious – driving while buzzed – to the oblivious – people lighting up at the pump.
For our latest podcast we spoke with Matt Johnson, vice president of risk services for QuadScore Insurance Services, to give us a rundown of those risks.
Following are takeaways from that conversation.
Johnson conjured up an example that may seem silly, but it’s one that may be on the minds of those concerned about mixing cannabis and gas. The 2001 comedy film Zoolander starring Ben Stiller has a scene where absent-minded male models playfully spray each other with gasoline at a filling station. This leads to a dangerous and tragic combustion event.
One hopes that level-headed customers are the rule at these stores, but such hopes may not be part of an underwriter’s thought process.
Johnson continued to rattled off a list of risks that gas stations have that people in the cannabis business must consider and cannabis-related risks that the gas station-convenience store industry will get introduced to.
“Obviously your GL hazard is going to increase as much as anything,” Johnson said. “You’ve got increased foot traffic, increased automotive traffic, increased potential for a slip-and-fall claim if you’ve got the potential for oil spills or rain and what have you.”
Vandalism, and pollution exposure were among other risks on his list.
Theft is a major consideration for cannabis businesses, which often carry large amounts of cash and a product that may prove attractive to would-be thieves.
“Another issue with the dispensaries being theft,” he said. “How do you protect the building against unauthorized vehicular entry. Are you going to put bollards around the store to secure it? What’s your plan?”
Drivers buying cannabis and taking it before getting to their destination was another of his concerns. And of course, having someone light up at the pump, as safe or dangerous as people may perceive that to be, is not ideal, he added.
“Heaven forbid the first thing people do is get in the car and start ingesting an intoxicating substance,” he said. “Obviously, we caution against any sort of impaired driving from cannabis to alcohol to you know, pharmaceuticals. It’s just a bad idea, but that is a definite risk, and you know, going back to that Zoolander gasoline, fight example, this just feels so goofy to say, but yeah, someone pops in their car and they light up a pre-roll. Heaven forbid they light up the gas station too, so there is definitely an increased hazard there when you’re dealing with any kind of explosive liquids.”
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