There's good news and bad news when it comes to Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and CannTrust Holdings (NYSE:CTST). First, the bad news: Both Canadian marijuana stocks have tanked over the last couple of weeks. The good news, though, is that Tilray and CannTrust are still up a lot so far in 2018.
Tilray has been the bigger winner by far. But which of these two marijuana stocks is the better pick now? Here's how Tilray and CannTrust compare.
The case for Tilray
Tilray's CEO, Brendan Kennedy, recently stated that there will be multiple $100 billion companies in the cannabis industry. And he thinks that Tilray will be one of them. If Tilray gets even close to achieving Kennedy's prediction, the stock is a great pick right now.
Canada's launch of its recreational marijuana market is a start. Tilray should have 912,000 square feet of growing space by the end of this year, with roughly three-quarters of that space in Canada. The company also has plenty of space available for future expansion. My colleague Sean Williams projects that Tilray will rank fourth among marijuana growers in total production capacity by 2020. I suspect that Sean's prediction will prove to be on target.
While capacity is key, there's something just as important for Tilray in the Canadian recreational market: supply agreements with provinces and territories. The company is in good shape on that front as well. Tilray claims supply agreements with eight Canadian provinces and territories.
We can't forget Canada's medical marijuana market. Tilray is a major player in the space. The company signed a deal earlier this year with Sandoz Canada, a subsidiary of Novartis, to co-develop and co-market medical cannabis products.
Tilray can't achieve Kennedy's vision by focusing just on Canada, though. And it isn't. The company has a significant presence in Germany and is currently the only producer authorized to supply both cannabis flower and cannabis oils in the country. Tilray also is positioned to benefit from the growth of medical marijuana markets in other areas across the world, particularly Australia, the United Kingdom, and Latin America.
The case for CannTrust
CannTrust Holdings is a lot further away from a $100 billion market cap than Tilray is. But that could be viewed as a positive for the company.
Despite being smaller than Tilray in terms of market cap, CannTrust compares really well when it comes to production capacity. The company opened its 450,000-square-foot Niagara Perpetual Harvest Facility on June 26, 2018. CannTrust is also adding another 600,000 square feet of growing space that is fully funded. When the project is completed, the company anticipates annual production capacity topping 100,000 kilograms.
CannTrust also has supply agreements lined up for the Canadian recreational marijuana market with nine provinces. It most recently locked up deals with the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The company partnered with Kindred, a wholly owned subsidiary of Breakthru Beverage Group, to market cannabis products for the Canadian recreational market. Breakthru Beverage Group is a leading alcohol wholesaler in the U.S. and ranks as the largest alcoholic beverage broker in Canada.
CannTrust hasn't cracked the German medical marijuana market yet, but it is currently the only cannabis producer authorized to export to Denmark. The company has also exported medical cannabis to Australia. CannTrust also holds patents for Brewbudz, a single-serve brew combining coffee with cannabis, that was launched in the U.S. by Cannabiniers.
Better marijuana stock
In my view, it's an easy decision between Tilray and CannTrust. Maybe someday Tilray will become a $100 billion company, but I don't think it deserves to even be a $10 billion company right now.
Unlike Tilray, CannTrust is already profitable. And with a market cap below $850 million, it's arguably one of the cheapest Canadian marijuana stocks on the market. Tilray claims advantages in production capacity and in the German market, but I don't think those are worth the stock trading at over 10 times higher than CannTrust does.
CannTrust faces risks, for sure, including the potential of a supply glut in Canada within a few years. For now, though, I see it as one of the better picks in the Canadian cannabis industry.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that Cannabiniers launched BrewBudz in the U.S. rather than CannTrust.