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Couche-Tard launches cannabis pilot project in Alberta

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Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD-B.TO) is pairing its Circle K convenience stores with pot-selling neighbours under an Alberta-based pilot project with cannabis retailer Fire & Flower (FAF.TO).

The Laval, Que.-based gas and convenience store giant will open locations in Calgary and Grande Prairie adjacent to Fire & Flower cannabis stores this month. Fire & Flower said in a news release on Monday that the stores will be separated in accordance with all applicable regulations.

Couche-Tard’s network of convenience stores spans nearly 10,000 locations in North America, including more than 8,000 gas stations. The company also operates a large retail network in Europe. The Grand Prairie and Calgary stores co-located with Fire & Flower cannabis shops are set to open on July 6 and 13, respectively.

Fire & Flower said it expects “additional opportunities to co-locate cannabis retail stores in the future.”

Last July, Couche-Tard invested nearly $26 million for a 9.9 per cent stake in Edmonton-based cannabis retail chain. The deal included warrants to increase the gas and convenience chain’s ownership to 50.1 per cent.

“This approach to innovation in omni-channel and convenience-oriented cannabis retail differentiates Fire & Flower and positions us well to capitalize on both domestic and international opportunities,” chief executive officer Trevor Fencott stated in a news release on Monday.

“As we continue to build our relationship with Alimentation Couche-Tard, Fire & Flower is very pleased to be embarking on this initiative together.”

Fire & Flower operates nearly 50 retail cannabis stores across five provinces and the Yukon. The company also sells retail data solutions under its Hifyre brand.

Toronto-listed shares climbed 4.17 per cent to $0.75 at 9:52 a.m. ET. Couche-Tard shares were flat at the start of Monday’s session.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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