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3 Underrated Pot Stocks to Buy in 2020

By David Jagielski - Updated Feb 24, 2020 at 8:07AM

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These stocks are flying under the radar.

It can be difficult to find good buys in the cannabis industry, especially since a lot of the focus is on industry leaders Aurora Cannabis (ACB 3.87%) and Canopy Growth (CGC -3.21%). That means investors may overlook other, smaller stocks that may not get as much attention but that offer good value. Below are three stocks in that category that could be good buys this year as the industry matures.

1. Aphria

With a market cap of $1.1 billion, Aphria (APHA) is technically one of the bigger pot stocks on the market. However, the stock often doesn't benefit from the same fanfare Canopy Growth and Aurora enjoy. It trades at only three times revenue, meaning investors value it significantly less than the nine times they're willing to pay for Aurora's stock. Canopy's price-to-sales multiple of 26 is even larger. 

What makes Aphria an intriguing option for investors is that with sales of 449 million Canadian dollars over the past 12 months, it generated significantly more over the past four quarters than Aurora, which posted CA$295 million. Aphria's recorded more revenue than Canopy Growth as well, which saw sales over the last 12 months of CA$385 million. 

Cannabis greenhouse.

Image source: Getty Images.

In addition, with profits in two of the past three quarters, Aphria's also produced some strong results further down its income statement. Reaching breakeven has been much more elusive for both Canopy and Aurora. But despite its more stable performance, Aphria's stock has still fallen 58% over the past 12 months. While that's not as bad as Aurora's 76% fall during that time, Canopy's stock failed less with a more modest decrease of 53%.

This year could be a good one for Aphria as the edibles market in Canada could help the company produce stronger results in 2020. And with a low valuation, there's a lot of potential for the stock to rise, especially if the company is able to stay in the black.

2. iAnthus

iAnthus Capital Holdings (ITHUF 5.97%) has a market cap of just over $200 million. The U.S.-based stock is a much more modest buy as it has recorded sales of only $53 million over the trailing 12 months. It trades at four times revenue, so investors have also not valued it as highly as they have the big-name pot stocks in the industry. 

iAnthus claims to operate more than 30 dispensaries. Its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products are in more than 190 stores, while its cannabidiol (CBD) products are in over 2,300 stores across the country. The multistate operator is continuing to grow its reach -- iAnthus announced in 2020 that New Jersey had given it a cultivation permit and that Massachussetts green-lighted it to begin operating activities in the state.

With a footprint in 10 states, including hot markets like California, Florida, and Massachusetts, the company could see a lot of growth in 2020. While it's still a modestly sized pot stock today, that could change this year as it continues to rake in more sales. It may be due for a rebound, as iAnthus' share price cratered nearly 80% in the past year.

3. Green Thumb

Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF -2.29%) is much further ahead in its growth than iAnthus with $161 million in sales in the past four quarters. The Chicago-based company opened its seventh store in Illinois on Jan. 31, which was its 41st in the country, as it looks to benefit from the promising opportunities in its home state, where it became legal to sell recreational pot on Jan. 1. 

With analysts projecting the Illinois market could be worth as much as $2.5 billion at maturation, Green Thumb has positioned itself for success by being one of the first movers in the state.

Although profitability has been a challenge for Green Thumb, in its most recent quarterly results, released on Nov. 20, the company did achieve positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $14.1 million. And the company's CEO, Ben Kovler, knows the importance of having strong financials to facilitate its growth, stating in the earnings release, "Critical to our ongoing success is a strong balance sheet that provides us with ample liquidity and financial flexibility to support our growth plans." 

Green Thumb isn't as cheap as the other stocks on this list, trading at more than 11 times its sales, but that could quickly change as the company benefits from significant sales growth in 2020 now that it's operating in 12 states. 

The company plans to release its full-year results for 2019 on March 26. Over the past 12 months, its share price is down 37%.

Which is the better buy today?

The three companies listed above have some terrific opportunities to grow in 2020. However, with the U.S. market being significantly larger than the Canadian one and Green Thumb already owning a significant presence in many major markets, the company looks to be the marijuana stock with the most potential to benefit.

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Stocks Mentioned

iAnthus Capital Stock Quote
iAnthus Capital
$0.09 (5.97%) $0.01
Green Thumb Industries Stock Quote
Green Thumb Industries
$12.82 (-2.29%) $0.30
Aphria Stock Quote
Aurora Cannabis Stock Quote
Aurora Cannabis
$2.95 (3.87%) $0.11
Canopy Growth Stock Quote
Canopy Growth
$5.73 (-3.21%) $0.19

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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