This has been a game-changing year for the marijuana industry. Last month, Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational weed in the world, and just this past week, two more states -- Utah and Missouri -- legalized cannabis in some capacity. At seemingly every turn, history is being made, and that's usually a great time for investors to pay close attention.
With this in mind, we asked three of our pot-stock-focused contributors to name one marijuana stock that they believe you should be eyeing in November. Budding to the top of the list are Ontario-based hydroponic grower CannTrust Holdings (NYSE:CTST), niche cannabis distributor Origin House (OTC:ORHOF), and potentially the third largest producer throughout all of Canada, Aphria (NYSE:APHA).
Earnings season intrigue has arrived
Sean Williams (CannTrust Holdings): With marijuana stocks moving into the next stages of their development, I believe one of the most intriguing pot stocks to watch in November is going to be CannTrust Holdings.
Ontario-based CannTrust is slated to report its quarterly operating results after the market close on Nov. 14. Although Wall Street has no profit- or loss-specific estimate, four analysts have pegged total sales at nearly $9 million Canadian, which would represent a 91% year-over-year increase. Keep in mind that CannTrust's operating results will not include any sales since Canada legalized marijuana, although it may include some sales related to stockpiling before dispensary doors opened on Oct. 17.
It'll be really interesting to see what CannTrust has to say with regard to its profit or loss for the recently ended quarter, as well as moving forward. On one hand, incredible demand should create a scenario where revenue rises quickly. This should, presumably, help minimizing net cash outflow. There's also the possibility that fair-value adjustments to biological assets (i.e., cannabis plants) pushes CannTrust into yet another quarterly profit.
On the other hand, CannTrust is spending quite a bit on capacity expansion at the remaining 600,000 square feet of its Niagara Greenhouse, and it may potentially face problems tied to supply shortages of product in Ontario.
The real wild card here is the company's focus on hydroponics and its use of moving containerized benches to create a perpetual harvesting system. This unique combination of growing methods is expected to boost yields and lower long-term growing costs. This'll be the first quarter where we get a taste for just how much growing costs have fallen. I'm excited to see what happens in a few days.
New name, same big opportunity
Keith Speights (Origin House): Until a few weeks ago, Origin House didn't exist. Cannaroyalty changed its name on Oct. 22, to better reflect its identity and mission of becoming the "preeminent global house of cannabis brands."
So far this year, this "new" marijuana stock is handily outperforming most of the big Canadian marijuana stocks. Origin House is technically a Canadian marijuana stock, too, since it's based in Ottawa. But it's really more of a U.S. play, which is a major reason I like the stock.
The company ranks as the top distributor of legal cannabis products in California, distributing more than 130 branded products to roughly 70% of dispensaries in the state. With all the hype surrounding the opening of Canada's recreational marijuana market, it's easy to forget that California claims a much larger market.
Origin House's core business is distribution, but it also markets several of its own brands. The company has excellent insight into which brands perform the best and plans to steadily add to its lineup by acquiring some of the top performers. It's not overlooking the Canadian market, either. Origin House is acquiring 180 Smoke, Canada's leading vape retailer.
Sustained profitability should be on the way in 2019. Origin House appears likely to generate sales in the ballpark of $325 million by 2020, making this stock look like a great pick at its current market cap of around $400 million.
A new listing removes obstacles to buying shares
Todd Campbell (Aphria): The opening of Canada's recreational market on Oct. 17 means it's been an important month for cannabis companies, but it wasn't just that event that makes Aphria a pot stock worth watching this month.
On Nov. 2, Aphria officially made the jump from trading on the thinly regulated over-the-counter marketplace to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's blue-chip stock exchange. The decision to list its shares on the NYSE allows investors, including institutions, to buy Aphria's shares for the first time, because many investors can't buy over-the-counter stocks or stocks listed on foreign exchanges because of their mandates.
Tapping these institutional investors is important, because they often turn over their account less frequently than individuals and they're most likely to participate in follow-on stock offerings that may be necessary to fund Aphria's growth strategy in the future.
It's not just institutional investors who might be more interested in Aphria following its move to the NYSE. In the past, major consumer companies have raised concerns that investing in foreign cannabis companies could cause problems with U.S. regulators. So this listing could help resolve those concerns and clear the way to a collaboration.
Admittedly, there's no telling if a deal will be struck, but I think the potential for Aphria to be the third largest marijuana producer in Canada makes it a top cannabis company for consumer-goods companies to be targeting and its listing on the NYSE this month makes a deal easier.