To be blunt, marijuana stocks are on fire. Following the passage of the Cannabis Act in Canada this past June, and the official kickoff of recreational weed sales on Oct. 17, 2018, the cannabis industry is now viewed as a legitimate business model that's here to stay. With sales projected to be in the tens of billions of dollars globally within the next decade, it's simply a matter of trying to figure out where those dollars might end up. As a result, pot stocks throughout the industry have soared.
Just since the year began, through March 3, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF, the first-ever tradable cannabis ETF, was up a jaw-dropping 60%. Unfortunately, it also means that most pot stocks are now far too pricey to consider for investment purposes.
There are, however, three marijuana stocks that still offer value, even with significant industry growth being factored in by Wall Street and investors. If you're looking for new investment opportunities in the green rush, here are three pot stocks to consider buying in March.
Whereas most of the cannabis industry has been unstoppable in 2019, KushCo Holdings (KSHB) has been somewhat of a dud. Through this past weekend, shares of the company were up just 11% year to date, which is actually underperforming the broad-based S&P 500.
However, there probably isn't a cannabis-focused stock that's valued a lower price-to-sales ratio than KushCo, which is what makes it so intriguing. With between $110 million and $120 million in sales forecast for 2019, representing revenue growth of around 121% year over year at the midpoint, KushCo is only valued at a little more than four times sales. Comparatively, most direct pot players have triple-digit price-to-sales ratios at present.
What makes KushCo so unique is the company's niche focus in two exceptionally high-growth areas. First, it's a packaging and branding powerhouse that's currently serving more than 5,000 pot growers worldwide. The logistics of what's allowed on packaging can change between country, province, state, and even locale. Thus, KushCo ensures that packaging remains compliant with all applicable laws, while also providing branding and packaging solutions to help growers stand out from an increasingly crowded field. Although packaging isn't an impenetrable moat, KushCo has the clear market share edge for the time being.
Additionally, KushCo's acquisition of Summit Innovations thrust it into another niche industry: the supply of hydrocarbon gases. As a supplier of hydrocarbon gases, which are essential for the production of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, and a supplier of solvents that are necessary for the production of cannabis concentrates, KushCo has established itself as a presence in the high-margin CBD and alternative pot product industry.
Though profitability may elude KushCo in 2019, and common stock sales could stymie share price appreciation in the very near term, it remains an incredibly attractive marijuana stock given its ancillary market share in packaging and its microscopic price-to-sales multiple.
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Among direct players, there's no marijuana stock I think more highly of than Atlantic-based OrganiGram Holdings (OGI 0.67%).
Whereas most growers are located in Ontario, Quebec, or British Columbia, OrganiGram calls the Moncton campus in New Brunswick its home. The Moncton facility, when fully operational and completely built out, will span 490,000 square feet. That may not sound like a lot, but it'll still be good enough for the company to produce an estimated 113,000 kilograms per year at its peak. Running the math, that's more than double the industry average in terms of output per square footage.
One of OrganiGram's secrets to success is its greenhouse setup. Unlike every other major grower, OrganiGram has three tiers of growing levels in its rooms, which maximizes the square footage of its greenhouse and helps bring production costs down. Combine this three-tiered growing system with only having a single growing location (ergo lower supply chain costs) and it's easy to see why OrganiGram's production costs should be among the lowest in the industry.
Location plays an important role, too. Aside from just lower supply chain costs, OrganiGram's proximity to New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia puts it in pole position to be a market share leader in these provinces and territories. Even though these are generally lower-population provinces, early data has shown that they're also among the highest in cannabis use rates.
Fundamentally speaking, even with OrganiGram having doubled in value since Dec. 24, its forward price-to-earnings ratio of 23 is still the lowest in the industry by a long shot. And, as the icing on the cake, OrganiGram's most recent quarter featured its first-ever positive free cash flow. It may not be the screaming value it was two months ago, but OrganiGram still has plenty to offer opportunistic investors.
Charlotte's Web Holdings
Focusing solely on the United States market, the third and final marijuana stock that could be worth buying in March is Charlotte's Web Holdings (CWBHF 5.81%).
Even before the Farm Bill was signed into law by President Trump in December, Charlotte's Web was turning heads. This producer and distributor of hemp-derived CBD oils was retailing its products in more than 3,600 U.S. stores, and it was one of a very small number of pot stocks to have produced a profit on an operating basis (i.e., without the assistance of one-time costs and benefits). With the Farm Bill now passed, hemp and hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, potentially opening the door for Charlotte's Web to place its products in a host of new retailers.
Possibly the hottest cannabis trend in 2019 is going to be growth in CBD-based products. (CBD is the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid known for its perceived medical benefits.) Though we have seen some states cracking down on CBD use (of any form, be it cannabis-derived or hemp-derived) as an additive to food and beverages, the market for CBD use in oils, capsules, vapes, and other products remains robust. This is a big reason why the Brightfield Group has called for a compound annual growth rate in global CBD sales of 147% between 2018 and 2022. Charlotte's Web is on the leading edge of this growth wave.
Like OrganiGram, Charlotte's Web was fundamentally a lot cheaper a few months ago. While its trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 114 might scare away folks now, its forward P/E of 42 still makes a lot of sense with triple-digit sales growth expected in 2019, and perhaps 2020. It's by no means an "inexpensive" stock, but Charlotte's Web still looks to have plenty of upside.