Marijuana stocks have explosive potential. The global cannabis industry could generate annual sales as high as $200 billion within the next decade, according to investment bank Stifel. This would represent growth of more than 1,500% from the approximately $12 billion in sales the industry produced in 2018.
The following three cannabis companies are particularly well-positioned to profit from the cannabis boom -- and investors who buy their stocks today should be well rewarded in the years ahead.
The cannabis superstore
Nevada is one of the most lucrative legal marijuana markets in the U.S. -- and Planet 13 Holdings (PLNH.F -1.26%) is the best way to play it. The dispensary company operates its massive SuperStore on the Las Vegas Strip. When it's fully built out, the high-end cannabis retail complex and entertainment center will span 112,000 square feet, which will make it the largest such destination in the world.
Thanks in part to its huge selection of marijuana, cannabis extracts, and infused products, Planet 13's Vegas SuperStore already serves more than 2,000 customers per day. In turn, Planet 13 -- which saw its revenue surge 275% year over year to $16.5 million in the second quarter -- now accounts for nearly 10% of Nevada's cannabis dispensary sales. The pot purveyor is also becoming more profitable as it expands; its gross profit before biological adjustments soared 333% to $9.7 million, as gross margin improved to 58.7% from 50.8% in the year-ago quarter.
Investors can expect Planet 13 Holdings' revenue and profits to head even higher in the year ahead. The company is gearing up to launch another cannabis superstore in California. The 40,000 square foot facility will be located about 10 minutes from Disneyland and only three miles from the South Coast Plaza mall, which hosts 24 million visitors a year.
The CBD leader
Charlotte's Web Holdings (CWBHF -1.55%) is the global market share leader in hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products. Unlike marijuana, CBD doesn't get people high. But due to its perceived health benefits, CBD sales in the U.S. alone could approach $24 billion by 2023, according to analysts at Brightfield Group.
Charlotte's Web's CBD products can be found in more than 8,000 retail locations across the U.S., including some major chains such as CVS Health and Kroger. The company also has a rapidly growing e-commerce business, which accounts for nearly half its sales.
Charlotte's Web's revenue climbed 45% year over year to $25 million in the second quarter. The company is ramping up its hemp production to meet the surging demand for CBD. In turn, analysts expect Charlotte's Web's revenue growth to accelerate to 90% in the third quarter, 108% in the fourth quarter, and 140% in 2020. Better still, Charlotte's Web's profits are projected to grow even faster, to the tune of 150% in Q3, 400% in Q4, and more than 260% in 2020.
The real estate play
Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR 3.49%) offers investors another intriguing and relatively low-risk way to profit from the cannabis boom. The real estate investment trust (REIT) acquires facilities that can be used to produce medical marijuana and leases them to state-licensed growers.
IIP's owns 30 properties in 12 U.S. states spanning 2.2 million rentable square feet. They're highly profitable, with an average return on capital of 14.5%. They generate steady, recurring cash flow, with an average lease term of nearly 16 years. And they have built-in inflation protection, with annual rent increases of 3%-4%.
IIP passes its profits on to investors via a fast-growing dividend. The company recently boosted its quarterly cash payout to $0.78 per share. That's up 30% from the second quarter and 123% from the prior-year period. Investors can expect many more dividend increases from Innovative Industrial Properties in the coming years, as the REIT acquires more facilities and steadily increases its cash-generating abilities.