Right now, cannabis can only be legally purchased through dispensaries or online retailers, but that could change if a group representing corner stores across America gets its way. The lobbying arm of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is preparing to fight for the ability of their members to sell weed once it becomes federally legal in America.
NACS doesn't have support for federal cannabis policy reform on their official agenda, but that doesn't mean they don't want a piece of the pie if the industry is legalized nationwide. And as federal cannabis legalization becomes closer and closer to reality, NACS is hopeful that convenience stores will be able to sell marijuana in the same way they already sell cigarettes and alcohol.
"The idea is that you want to have a level playing field for selling legal products. What we are looking at is, if there is a legal framework, how there could be a situation for those that want to sell. That they will be able to sell it legally," Jeff Lenard - VP of Strategic Industry Initiatives at NACS - told The Street.
If NACS gets their way, the shift in marijuana retails could have huge ramifications for the cannabis industry as we know it. While big-name chains like CVS have started selling some non-intoxicating cannabis products, the vast majority of marijuana sales still come through local dispensaries. But, if the neighborhood bodegas start selling weed as well, many consumers could be persuaded to spend their money there instead.
"This will kill dispensaries," said Mark Singleton, owner of Singleton Investments. "And the cannabis industry is either unaware of it or in denial."