Marijuana stocks are on fire, and investors are looking closely to see which of the young, hard-working companies that have been the first movers in the cannabis industry have been more successful. It's easy to focus on stock price, because that's an easy indicator of how much money early investors in marijuana stocks have made.

Yet in a fast-growing market, revenue can be the best indicator of success, because it indicates how much market share the leaders are pulling in. That'll likely be an important foundation for their future. That's why below, we'll look at the three stocks that have reported the greatest amount of sales over their most recent quarter, along with a look at what's driving them and what their prospects look like.

Hand holding marijuana leaf, with cannabis plants in background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Who's not on the list?

Before we turn to the three top sellers on the marijuana front, let's take a look at some of the players that didn't make the list. It's important to understand that this list of companies will change rapidly -- especially because not all cannabis cultivators report their results at the same time.

Although it's already early March, a number of cannabis companies still haven't yet said what they earned in the last part of 2018. Because that includes the period during which recreational cannabis sales in Canada became legal, their current backward-looking revenue figures are misleading. Those companies include well-known marijuana stock Tilray (TLRY), along with Trulieve and Curaleaf. In addition, Aphria (APHA) has a nonstandard quarter, with its most recent report having been for the period that ended on Nov. 30. That means that Aphria got a month and a half of recreational sales in Canada last quarter, but it should see a substantial boost in its next report.

Big early winners in cannabis

Nevertheless, for now, there are three winners in the race for the most revenue among cannabis stocks:


Most Recent Quarterly Sales

Canopy Growth (CGC 9.85%)

$62.2 million

Aurora Cannabis (ACB 1.33%)

$35.7 million

MedMen Enterprises (MMNF.Q)

$29.9 million

Data source: Yahoo! Finance. Note: Canadian dollar revenue translated at rate of CA$1 = US$0.75.

None of these companies should be a big surprise. Canopy Growth had breakout revenue growth in its fourth quarter, with revenue jumping 282% from the year-earlier period and 258% from just three months earlier. With the rollout of Canadian cannabis, Canopy's sales volumes soared, climbing above the 10,000 kilo mark for the first time ever. Despite some price pressure in the recreational market, Canopy was able to use its brand strength and customer loyalty to boost average selling prices for its medical marijuana products, and cannabis-derived oils also sold well. With well-known brands and the backing of spirits giant Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), Canopy has a lot of runway left for future growth.

Check out the latest earnings call transcripts for Canopy Growth and other companies we cover.

Aurora Cannabis has also seen impressive gains in its sales recently. Net revenue quadrupled during the company's fiscal second quarter from year-earlier levels and rose 83% from where it was three months ago, and cannabis production volume climbed 57% to more than 7,800 kilos during the period. Recreational sales in Canada accounted for about 40% of the market for Aurora, and the company was also able to sustain its presence in the medical marijuana market. Greater competition put pressure on pricing, but Aurora's efforts to build up an international presence has started to pay off already and should keep adding to growth over the long run.

Finally, MedMen Enterprises has seen slower growth because it doesn't have the exposure to the Canadian market that its peers on this list have. In its fiscal second quarter, the U.S. medical marijuana specialist reported a 39% rise in quarterly revenue compared to the fiscal first quarter, with most of its sales coming from the key market of California. MedMen has already built out an extensive footprint of retail locations across the nation, but the rising number of states legalizing medical marijuana has opened up new opportunities for expansion, and MedMen is following suit with plans to open up 16 retail locations in 2019. That'll double the size of its network, and it could make MedMen an attractive target for Canadian companies looking for a quick way to get U.S. market exposure.

Keep your eyes on these cannabis companies

March will bring more reports from aspiring marijuana producers, and it's likely that this list will change before the month is out. Nevertheless, all three of these companies have gotten an early jump on the competition, and that makes them worth watching as the budding cannabis industry grows over time.