What happened

Shares of Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) rose sharply on Friday morning after the company announced its fiscal 2020 third-quarter results. The Canadian cannabis producer reported net revenue of 123.8 million Canadian dollars, up 49% year over year and 62% quarter over quarter. That handily beat analysts' consensus estimate of CA$105.4 million. Shares were trading 14.4% higher as of 10:38 a.m. EST.

Canopy also recorded an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) loss of CA$91.7 million. This was a significant improvement from its adjusted EBITDA loss of CA$155.7 million in the second quarter. It also was much better than the average analysts' expectation for a loss of CA$110 million. 

Cannabis flower with green arrow pointing up and a stock chart int he background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The market's expectations for marijuana stocks have fallen broadly because of concerns about the less-than-adequate retail infrastructure for selling cannabis products in Canada (especially in Ontario) and the likelihood that Cannabis 2.0 -- under which cannabis-derivative products arrived on the market there -- will have a sluggish start. But Canopy Growth just shattered those expectations, renewing investors' excitement about the stock and raising hopes for better performance across the Canadian cannabis industry.

Canopy's positive results stand in stark contrast to the bleak fiscal 2020 second-quarter results reported by Aurora Cannabis Thursday. Both companies face similar headwinds in the Canadian market, but Canopy's strategy is clearly working better.

Perhaps the best news for Canopy was that its better-than-expected performance didn't come with an asterisk. It wasn't some major adjustment to its numbers that caused its revenue and adjusted EBITDA to improve so much. Canopy simply sold a lot more cannabis -- both in Canada and in international markets -- while cutting expenses. 

Now what

Canopy Growth's new CEO, David Klein, liked what he saw in the third quarter. But, he acknowledged, "We have a lot of work to do. We are eager to capitalize on the opportunity to create an unassailable position through a tight focus on the consumer and on critical markets."

It's possible that Canopy's Q3 results could be a harbinger of better days ahead. Ontario is issuing more licenses for cannabis retail stores. The Cannabis 2.0 market is just beginning to gain momentum. Canopy only recently began selling hemp-based CBD products in the U.S. And the company is implementing "tighter cost controls across the organization," according to CFO Mike Lee. All of those tailwinds could propel the company to more positive quarters in the future.