Canada's biggest cannabis company, Canopy Growth (CGC -10.51%), unveiled quarterly results last week showing that recreational marijuana sales are off to a fast start. The company, which maintained its status as the leader in this emerging space last quarter, offered up a treasure trove of information about its business and its future. Here are the facts everyone following Canopy Growth should know.

1. Rocketing revenue

The company's gross marijuana revenue was $97 million Canadian in the quarter ended Dec. 31. However, if you back out the excise taxes it's absorbing for its customers, net marijuana revenue was CA$83 million, up 283% from one year ago. The surge in sales is entirely due to the opening of Canada's recreational market on Oct. 17. Recreational sales throughout Canada totaled CA$58 million. 

Marijuana plants growing on top of an ascending row of coins.


2. More kilos sold, but a smaller harvest

Canopy Growth sold 10,102 kilograms and kilogram equivalents last quarter, up 334% from one year ago and 360% from the prior quarter. However, the surge in kilos sold was due to stockpiling ahead of adult-use sales, rather than a jump in kilos harvested. Last quarter, retrofits of its facilities caused harvested kilos to fall to 7,556 from 15,217 kilograms in the previous quarter. The drop was so significant that kilos harvested declined from 7,961 kilograms in the same quarter one year ago. Investors probably shouldn't worry, though. The company's marijuana capacity is among the biggest in the industry, and the drop last quarter should be temporary. 

3. Adult-use not as profit-friendly

Medical marijuana prices were much better than recreational prices last quarter. Canopy Growth's average medical price per gram was $9.03, net of excise taxes, while recreational prices averaged just $6.96 per gram. Because lower-priced recreational revenue accounted for most of the company's sales, average prices companywide declined to $7.33 per gram from $8.30 in the same quarter last year. 

Marijuana buds on a prescription pad.


4. A smaller increase in medical marijuana

The focus on targeting the adult-use market may have contributed to lackluster medical marijuana sales growth in the period. Medical revenue increased to CA$25.4 million from CA$23.3 million in the previous quarter, or 9%. The single-digit increase was significantly smaller than in past quarters, but it still outpaced Aurora Cannabis (ACB -4.85%), Canada's second-largest marijuana stock. Aurora Cannabis' quarter-over-quarter medical marijuana sales growth was 8% in the period. 

European Union flags flying outside a building.


5. International: big opportunity, but slow going

Canada's marijuana market is worth CA$6 billion, according to Statistics Canada. However, global marijuana spending totals $150 billion per year, so bigger opportunities exist elsewhere. Canopy Growth has been establishing a footprint in other important markets, including Germany, but sales have been slow to materialize.

Despite its efforts, Canopy Growth's revenue from international markets was just CA$2.7 million last quarter, up from roughly CA$2.3 million in the previous quarter. In the nine months ended Dec. 31, international revenue was CA$8.3 million, up from CA$1.4 million the year before.

A cannabis leaf next to a bottle of cannabis oil.


6. Getting the right product mix

With low-price recreational sales accounting for the lion's share of its revenue, it's more important than ever for Canopy Growth to increase sales of extracts, including oils, that command higher prices and offer better margins. To that end, the company's product mix remained solid last quarter. Extracts were 30% of its recreational sales and 42% of its medical sales, and overall, oils and gel caps accounted for 33% of total product sales, up from 23% one year ago. 

Check out the latest Canopy Growth earnings call transcript.

A man looking with surprise at a computer monitor.


7. Falling gross margin

Expenses associated with expansion projects that weren't up and running took a big toll on Canopy Growth's cost of goods sold last quarter. Gross margin tumbled to 13% in the period, from 76% a year ago. Excluding fair value adjustments that can change dramatically from quarter to quarter, gross margin dropped to 19% from 55% one year ago. Margin should improve, however, as non-producing projects come online, so investors might not want to read too much into the poor performance last quarter.

8. A cash dynamo

When Canopy Growth sold 38% of itself to Constellation Brands (STZ -1.42%) last year, it pocketed roughly $4 billion. As a result, it has the deepest pockets in the industry. As of Dec. 31, it's sitting on CA$4.1 billion in cash it can use to expand, automate, acquire, or enter new markets. Its cash hoard is already being put to good use. It acquired Colorado-based hemp researcher ebbu for $330 million last fall, and management last month announced plans to invest up to $150 million to create a hemp-innovation park in New York state. Canopy Growth is ironing out the details on the New York location, but it expects to be processing hemp in New York as soon as the end of 2019, giving it its first opportunity to tap into America's massive market.