The marijuana industry presents an interesting dilemma for investors.
On one hand, cannabis is expected to be among the fastest growing industries in the world over the next decade, which is a big reason behind the huge rally in marijuana stocks over the past three-plus years. Depending on your preferred source, legal weed sales could tally anywhere from $50 billion to $200 billion in about a decade's time.
On the other hand, the launch of legal cannabis throughout North America hasn't been smooth sailing. Persistent supply issues in Canada, as well as high excise tax rates in select legal U.S. states, have allowed the black market to thrive and significantly reduced the near-term sales and profit potential for cannabis stocks.
Yet despite these challenges, 10 pure-play pot stocks (i.e., companies that generate the bulk of their sales from cannabis or cannabinoids) are forecast by Wall Street to be profitable in fiscal year 2019. In no particular order, here's a brief rundown of where the green will be flowing in 2019, along with Wall Street's consensus full-year earnings per share forecast.
1. Charlotte's Web: $0.28 per share in fiscal 2019
Cannabidiol (CBD) represents one of the most popular trends within the cannabis and hemp movement, and Charlotte's Web (OTC:CWBHF) finds itself at the forefront of this growth. CBD being the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid best known for its perceived medical benefits. Charlotte's Web has seen the number of retail doors its CBD products are sold catapult to north of 6,000 by the end of March, up from 3,680 at the end of 2018, and the company also recently announced a 187% increase in the acreage of hemp it would plant for harvest and extraction in 2019 (862 acres), relative to last year (300 acres).
2. Trulieve Cannabis: $0.59
Trulieve Cannabis (OTC:TCNNF) is easily the most profitable of the U.S. multistate dispensary operators on the basis of earnings per share. Despite having a presence in four states, Trulieve is highly concentrated in Florida, where it has 29 operational dispensaries. This has allowed it to gobble up significant medical market share in the Sunshine State. Trulieve is hoping for similar success as it expands into California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
3. CV Sciences: $0.11
If Charlotte's Web is the kingpin of hemp-derived CBD market share, then CV Sciences (OTC:CVSI) isn't too far behind. Following the passage of the farm bill in December, and after securing a multistate partnership with national grocer Kroger, CV Sciences has effectively doubled its retail door presence (through mid-June) to nearly 4,600 stores since the year began. CV Sciences has guided analysts to expect more than 500 acres of hemp to be planted in 2019.
4. Innovative Industrial Properties: $1.82
On the basis of earnings per share, no pure-play pot stock is more profitable than cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR). Since the beginning of the year, Innovative Industrial Properties has more than doubled the size of its leased portfolio to 23 from 11, with an average return on invested capital of 14.7%. To put this into context, Innovative Industrial should see a complete payback on its nearly $235 million in investments in less than five years. This is also the only pure-play cannabis stock that pays a dividend.
5. Cronos Group: $0.61
I'd presume quite a few of you are scratching your heads over why Canadian grower Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), which has produced little revenue to date, is expected to be profitable in 2019. The answer rests with a massive 436.4 million Canadian dollar non-cash unrealized gain from the revaluation of derivative liabilities during the first quarter. Without this one-time benefit, Cronos Group would almost certainly lose money as it focuses on ramping up commercial cannabinoid production and completing its 850,000-square-foot joint venture grow farm.
6. OrganiGram Holdings: $0.14
Perhaps the only Canadian grower with a legitimate shot at full-year profitability, without leaning too much on one-time benefits, is New Brunswick-based OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI). OrganiGram's usage of three tiers of growing at its Moncton campus should produce a yield per square foot that's around double the industry average, when at peak capacity. OrganiGram anticipates having the build-out of its Moncton campus completed in December, with the final product capable of producing 113,000 kilos per year.
7. Planet 13 Holdings: $0.03
Despite being a small fry in terms of market cap, Planet 13 Holdings (OTC:PLNHF) should eke out a profit in 2019, according to Wall Street. Planet 13 opened the largest dispensary in the U.S. at the beginning of November in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Planet 13 SuperStore currently spans 16,200 square feet, but will eventually cover 112,000 square feet and include an events center, coffee shop, pizzeria, and consumer-facing processing center. With a 40,000-square-foot dispensary soon coming to Santa Ana, California, Planet 13 is all about creating an unforgettable experience for cannabis consumers.
8. Cresco Labs: $0.05
Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) is also in the vertically integrated, multistate dispensary landscape. Currently in the process of acquiring Origin House in an all-stock deal that was announced at $823 million, Cresco aims to open 56 retail locations in 11 states, as well as get its in-house-branded products into more than 500 Californian dispensaries. Origin House's highly coveted cannabis distribution licenses in California are likely the key to Cresco delivering profits in 2019.
9. Canopy Rivers: $0.02
Having been spun out from Canopy Growth last year, Wall Street expects that venture capital company Canopy Rivers (OTC:CNPOF) will be modestly profitable in 2019. Canopy Rivers has 17 investments on its books, with its 13% fully diluted stake in TerrAscend comprising the bulk of its invested value to date. However, it has minimal operating costs as a venture-capital company, which should help facilitate an easier path to profitability than most pot stocks.
10. MediPharm Labs: $0.03
Last, but not least, Wall Street has forecast that burgeoning extraction-service provider MediPharm Labs (OTC:MEDIF) can deliver the green in 2019. Companies like MediPharm provide the services that take cannabis and hemp biomass and turn it into high-quality resins and distillates that can be used for high-margin derivative production. Having already landed notable deals with TerrAscend and Cronos Group, MediPharm Labs appears headed in the right direction.