If you think the cannabis industry has grown like a weed of late, just give it some time to find its footing and mature a bit. After worldwide legal marijuana sales tripled between 2014 and 2018, legal pot revenue could soar to between $50 billion and $200 billion over the next decade.
At the heart of this budding industry will be growth in the U.S. market. While estimates vary widely, the consensus on Wall Street, and among various independent reports, is that the U.S. will be responsible for a lion's share of worldwide cannabis revenue. That could make U.S. pot stocks a particularly attractive place for investors to park their money in the years to come.
Even though Wall Street sales and profit estimates remain fluid given the lack of precedence to a legal marijuana industry, the following six U.S.-based, and U.S.-focused, cannabis stocks look to be on track for significant profits in 2020.
Given the excitement surrounding cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid known for its perceived medical benefits, it should come as no surprise that Charlotte's Web (OTC:CWBHF) is poised to make a good amount of profit next year ($0.69 per share, according to Wall Street's consensus).
Although the CBD market in the U.S. is exceptionally diversified, Charlotte's Web currently possesses the largest market share of any company. In late July, the company announced that it was expanding its topical CBD-infused products into 1,350 Kroger locations in 22 states, which brought its retail door count to north of 8,000. That's more than double where Charlotte's Web began the year. The company also recently announced a near-tripling in hemp planting to 862 acres this year, up from 300 acres last year.
Considering the high margins associated with the derivative products containing CBD, Charlotte's Web should have little trouble moving its products for the foreseeable future.
Green Thumb Industries
Vertically integrated multistate operators are expected to be especially successful as U.S. marijuana sales ramp up, and Green Thumb Industries (OTC:GTBIF) is one such beneficiary.
Green Thumb ended its most recent quarter with 95 retail licenses and 13 manufacturing facilities spanning a dozen states. Currently, Green Thumb has 31 open locations, but plans to end the year with closer to 35 to 40 operational locations. This is a company that's opening stores organically, as well as leaning on acquisitions to expand its presence. Perhaps no deal has stood out more for the company than its now-closed acquisition of Integral Associates, which brought the Essence retail chain into the fold. Essence has more than a half-dozen Nevada licenses, and is the only cannabis retailer allowed on the Las Vegas Strip.
According to Wall Street, Green Thumb has the potential to generate $0.17 in full-year earnings per share (EPS) next year. This seems doable after reporting sequential sales growth of 60% in the second quarter, which included 27% organic growth from existing locations.
Although it's best known as the company that Canopy Growth has agreed to buy in a contingent-rights cash-and-stock deal, Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRGF) has to continue focusing on its own growth for the time being. And by the looks of Wall Street's consensus ($0.22 per share in full-year 2020 EPS), Acreage should have little trouble impressing investors.
While it's not always about sheer numbers, Acreage does have one advantage that no other multistate operator can match: It has a production, processing, or sales presence in more states (20) than any other dispensary operator (on a pro forma basis). Though it's true that this strategy could actually increase Acreage's expenses as it spends aggressively to build up its brand in 20 different markets, it may also put the company in pole position to thrive if and when the federal government ever does change its tune on marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
Acreage is also in the top-five in terms of retail licenses held by dispensary operators. With plenty of capital on hand, Acreage should push to open new retail locations at a blistering pace over the next 12 months.
Not every multistate dispensary operator needs to be a giant, or cover more than a dozen states, to be exceptionally profitable. Trulieve Cannabis (OTC:TCNNF) currently has a presence in four states, but is projected by Wall Street to produce a juicy per-share profit of $0.72 next year.
The key to Trulieve's success has been focusing on its home state of Florida. By keeping its expenses and marketing push close to the vest, so to speak, the company has been able to open 30 retail locations in the Sunshine State, as well as grab significant market share. Florida is a state that only handed out a little more than one dozen cultivation licenses, so Trulieve has been able to stay one step ahead of its competition. As a result, sales are expected to quadruple from $102.8 million in 2018 to as much as $400 million by 2020.
However, Trulieve Cannabis is also expanding into California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The former should generate the highest cannabis sales in the U.S. each year, while Massachusetts has ambitions of becoming a billion-dollar marijuana market within a few years.
Planet 13 Holdings
Creeping ever-smaller in the dispensary space is Planet 13 Holdings (OTC:PLNHF). Planet 13 may only have one open location at the moment – just west of the Las Vegas Strip -- but it's a doozy. The Planet 13 SuperStore will span 112,000 square feet when complete and house a huge dispensary, coffee shop, pizzeria, events stage, and consumer-facing processing center.
Having visited the SuperStore firsthand, it's an experience that no other dispensary can rival. The selection is unmatched, and the use of technology throughout the store (e.g., self-pay kiosks) is a nice touch that should resonate with a younger generation of users. Plus, the store's layout is set up to drive margins, with derivative products near the front of the store and check-out line, and lower-margin dried flower toward the back of the store. Since opening in November, average daily visitor count has more than doubled, and the average check is up $12.
Planet 13 recently announced its plans to expand into a 40,000-square-foot location in Santa Ana, Calif. If the company is able to replicate this experience in California, then the $0.11 per-share profit Wall Street expects in 2020 should be achievable.
Innovative Industrial Properties
Last, but not least, Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) is expected to generate nearly $3 in EPS next year, according to Wall Street's consensus.
Innovative Industrial Properties is a cannabis-focused real estate investment trust (REIT). The company buys land and buildings that'll be used to grow and/or process medical marijuana in the U.S., then leases these assets out for an extended period of time, thereby reaping the reward of rental income. Further, IIP, as the company is also known, passes along an annual 3.25% rental increase to its lessees, guaranteeing itself some modest level of organic growth every year.
To date, IIP has 29 leased properties spanning 12 states in its portfolio, with an average-weighted lease length of 15.8 years and a current yield on invested capital of 14.5%. Put in another context, Innovative Industrial Properties should expect a complete payback of its $275 million in invested capital within five years, with everything after that simply being gravy.