More often than not, dividend stocks are the foundation of great portfolios and the X factor that leads to the creation of long-term wealth. That's because dividend stocks offer investors a variety of advantages.
For starters, dividend stocks are a beacon of profitability and have, historically, run circles around their non-dividend-paying peers. This makes sense given that a company is unlikely to pay a recurring dividend if it's not profitable and doesn't have a time-tested business model.
Furthermore, dividend stocks can help calm skittish investors during inevitable stock market corrections.
Most important, though, is the fact that dividend income can be reinvested back into more shares of dividend-paying stock in a repeating pattern via a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). This leads to larger dividend payments and more shares owned, and is the same strategy that top-tier money managers use to create wealth for their clients.
Yet, what income investors may not realize is that they can get recurring income from the fast-growing marijuana industry. Here are four stocks that will not only put a dividend in your pocket, but give you direct or indirect cannabis exposure.
In March, Altria completed a deal that sent $1.8 billion in cash to Cronos Group in exchange for a non-diluted 45% stake in the cannabis company. Aside from the fact that Cronos desperately needed cash, with less than $25 million on its books when the equity investment closed, the partnership with Altria could prove invaluable. That's because Altria is a minority stakeholder in vaping device Juul, and obviously has a wealth of knowledge in how to market vice products to consumers.
What's really exciting about this partnership is that derivative cannabis products, such as vapes, are set to hit dispensary shelves in Canada by mid-December. Derivatives sport considerably higher margins than dried flower, so their launch is highly anticipated. Although estimates on derivative sales vary, the overwhelming consensus is that vapes and vape accessories will lead all other derivatives in aggregate annual revenue.
Clearly, tobacco will continue to generate the lion's share of Altria's sales, and that's not going to change anytime soon. But as Cronos Group matures and grows as a marijuana company, Altria could begin to see its cannabis exposure pay off.
Corona and Modelo beer maker Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) is another company with a portfolio of brand-name products that can give investors exposure to cannabis with recurring dividend income. Constellation's payout of 1.5% annually is considerably more modest than Altria's high-yield stipend.
The company's tie-ins to the cannabis landscape are derived from its $4 billion equity investment in Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), the largest marijuana stock in the world by market cap. In November, Constellation's investment in Canopy closed -- this was its third such investment in Canopy -- boosting its stake in the company to 37%. This investment also allowed Constellation Brands to place two of its executives and two independent directors on Canopy Growth's board.
Constellation aims to benefit from its investment in Canopy Growth in a variety of ways. The duo will certainly be working on nonalcoholic infused cannabis beverages, but will also lean on each other's expertise to grow globally. Canopy's marijuana knowledge, branding, and early stage partnerships coupled with Constellation's marketing prowess and global reach should allow for a symbiotic partnership.
Of course, similar to Altria, Constellation Brands will continue to generate nearly all of its sales and income from beer, wine, and spirit sales.
Scotts is a company homeowners probably know best as providing lawn and garden care products. Farmers will also be familiar with Scotts Miracle-Gro for the crop-yield-boosting products it provides. But what you may not realize is that its subsidiary, Hawthorne Gardening, is focused on supporting the medical marijuana industry in the United States.
Hawthorne Gardening supplies hydroponic products for growers -- i.e., growing cannabis plants in a nutrient-rich water solvent, as opposed to soil -- as well as lighting, soil, and nutrient solutions. Following the acquisition of Sunlight Supply last year for $450 million, Scotts Miracle-Gro's subsidiary has an even more expansive product portfolio for the medical weed industry, and it could wind up accounting for more than 20% of Scotts' sales in the not-so-distant future. Given the rapid growth of marijuana in the North American market, Hawthorne has a chance to really move the needle for Scotts Miracle-Gro in the years to come.
Innovative Industrial Properties
Lastly, income investors could always consider Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR), which is the only cannabis stock that will give investors direct exposure to the high-growth industry. IIP, as the company is known, is paying out 2.7% at the moment.
Innovative Industrial Properties is a cannabis real estate investment trust (REIT). This means it acquires land and buildings that are used in the growing or processing of medical marijuana, then leases out these properties for an extended period of time, reaping the rewards of rental income in the process. After beginning the year with 11 properties in its portfolio, IIP now has 27 properties spanning 12 states, with $264.2 million invested thus far, and another $96.5 million earmarked for construction and tenant improvements.
Following its most recent property acquisition, Innovative Industrial Properties notes that it's achieving an average yield on invested capital of 14.5%. Put in another context, it should take IIP less than five years to completely recoup all of the money it's invested. What's more, IIP passes along a 3.25% annual rental increase to its tenants, ensuring that it's able to grow organically and keep up with inflation.
Though REITs are susceptible to share-based dilution as they raise capital for further investment, their cash flow tends to be highly predictable. That makes IIP an excellent candidate to continue paying a healthy yield.