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Better Marijuana Stock: Tilray vs. MariMed

By Keith Speights - Nov 11, 2018 at 12:31PM

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Which of these high-flying marijuana stocks is more likely to keep on flying?

Investors interested in marijuana stocks are breathing sighs of relief that October is over. Most marijuana stocks took a beating during the month. The biggest marijuana stock winner so far this year, Tilray (TLRY), saw its share price plunge 34% during October. Not every marijuana stock suffered, though. MariMed (MRMD 1.08%), for example, gained nearly 19% -- the second best performance among marijuana stocks in the month.

But October is in the past. Which of these two marijuana stocks is the better pick for the future? Here's what you need to know about the prospects for Tilray and MariMed.

Marijuana buds on top of U.S. cash

Image source: Getty Images.

The case for Tilray

Tilray's opportunities start right at home in Canada. The cannabis producer has already carved out a solid position for itself in the country's medical marijuana market. Tilray has some help. The company teamed up with Sandoz Canada, a subsidiary of Novartis, to market medical cannabis products throughout Canada. 

An even greater opportunity lies in sales of recreational marijuana throughout Canada. Although the country's recreational marijuana market got off to a bumpy start with widespread product shortages, those wrinkles will probably be soon ironed out. Tilray should enjoy big sales growth as supply chains stabilize. When regulations for cannabis edibles and concentrates are finalized, presumably next year, the company's revenue will almost certainly receive another nice boost.

But Tilray has its sights set beyond just the Canadian market. It was the first company to export medical cannabis to Australia and New Zealand. It was the first to export medical cannabis to Europe. It was the first -- and so far only -- company approved to supply both cannabis flower and cannabis oils to Germany, the most important international marijuana market outside of North America. 

Tilray's recent acquisition of Chilean medical cannabis producer Alef Biotechnology bolsters its position in Latin America. Alef was already an import partner for Tilray. The acquisition, though, gives Tilray a hub to distribute medical cannabis throughout Latin America. 

A major prerequisite to capitalize on expanding marijuana markets is production capacity. Tilray should have 912,000 square feet of growing space by the end of this year, including its production facilities in Canada and Portugal. But Tilray also claims around 3.8 million square feet of expansion potential.  

The case for MariMed

MariMed is about as different from Tilray as night is from day. But its growth prospects are as bright as daylight.

The company provides a range of services to the U.S. cannabis industry. MariMed designs and builds medical cannabis production facilities and then leases them to customers. It helps customers obtain necessary licensing. It offers consulting services to assist existing cannabis businesses expand.

On top of all of this, MariMed distributes its own lineup of cannabis products, including Kalm Fusion and Betty's Eddies. MariMed recently acquired iRollie, a small manufacturer of branded cannabis products and accessories. iRollie also provides custom product and packaging for companies in the cannabis industry.

While Tilray operates in Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia, MariMed's sole focus right now is on the U.S. market. But that's actually a big plus for the company, considering U.S. marijuana sales should top $22 billion by 2022 -- comprising roughly 75% of the total global legal marijuana market.

MariMed currently conducts business in five states: Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. However, the company is preparing to expand into Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

Adding more geographical territory is one avenue for MariMed to grow. Another is to make more deals. As a case in point, MariMed invested in Sprout, a customer relationship management and marketing software company targeting the cannabis industry. MariMed plans to distribute Sprout's products in multiple states.

Better marijuana stock

Both Tilray and MariMed have great growth prospects. But the one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is valuation. Tilray's market cap stands above $10 billion, while MariMed's market cap is less than $1 billion. There's a good argument to be made, though, that MariMed's opportunity is greater than Tilray's is right now because Tilray can't compete in the United States.

I'm not convinced that either of these stocks is a great pick at this point. My view is that there are other marijuana stocks that provide better risk-reward propositions. But I think MariMed isn't as wildly overvalued as Tilray is. MariMed therefore gets the nod as the better marijuana stock.

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