Despite losing over half its value during the last three quarters of 2019, the legal marijuana industry hasn't exactly been a safe haven for investors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of the industries biggest names, in fact, have lost another third of their value since the start of 2020.

The top legal marijuana companies in Canada and the U.S. have been crushed by a tsunami of self-inflicted wounds, along with burdensome governmental regulations and high taxes in key commercial territories.

There is no denying the industry's monstrous long-term value proposition, however. By the end of the decade, global marijuana sales from legit businesses are expected to surpass $50 billion a year. If the industry can successfully break into other ancillary markets like cosmetics and the wellness space, annual legal pot sales may even top $200 billion by 2030.

Jars with various oils next to a marijuana plant.

Image source: Getty Images.

But only a small handful of companies are expected to survive long enough to take advantage of this rising tide. Multiple Canadian and U.S. cannabis companies are already struggling to keep their heads above water. 

Which pot stocks have the best chance at staying in the game for the long haul? Canada's Aphira (NYSE:APHA) and OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGRM.F) have clearly started to separate themselves from the pack. Here's why risk-tolerant investors with a long-term outlook may want to buy these two stocks soon. 

Aphria: The industry's lone bright spot

In an industry chock-full of high cash-burn rates, negative free cash flows, and downright scary balance sheets, Aphria is a shining star. The company has posted four consecutive quarters of positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), it has an outstanding balance sheet with 515.1 million in Canadian dollars (approximately $366 million) in cash, and it has been steadily upping its market share at home and abroad over the last 12 months. 

Perhaps the best part is that Aphria has established a solid foothold in the all-important German market with its subsidiary CC Pharma, which is the main reason Aphria has been blowing away the competition from a revenue generation standpoint. What's more, the company has a well-rounded portfolio of top dried-flower brands, such as Solei, RIFF, Good Supply, Broken Coast, and the Aphria medical brand. All things considered, there's a lot to like about this top pot company. 

What's the risk? Aphria's top-line growth will likely remain on the modest side until the global cannabis market opens up more broadly, an issue that could take the better part of the current decade to resolve. On the bright side, Aphria's fairly strong balance sheet should allow it to play the long game while the global marijuana market slowly matures.    

OrganiGram: One falling knife worth catching

OrganiGram specializes in growing outstanding weed in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The company's secret sauce revolves around a three-tiered growing system at its Moncton campus in New Brunswick. Its low cost of production and highly sought-after recreational brands have made it one of the few cannabis companies to deliver positive adjusted EBITDA within the last 12 months.

That said, the company's recent second-quarter earnings report did fail to hit the mark on several fronts. OrganiGram's shares took a big step backward last week after the company released its Q2 report, which came in light on revenue and painted a bleak near-term picture due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the company has been reducing costs to deal with this viral threat. But there's a good chance that the company's third-quarter report won't be a big hit with shareholders, either. Shares are probably going to remain on the volatile side for the remainder of 2020. 

The good news is that OrganiGram does have the financial capacity to survive these troubling times and to continue to build shareholder value over the long term. The company, in turn, should have little trouble getting back to its winning ways once this pandemic ends. So if you're on the hunt for a solid vehicle to gain exposure to the high-growth cannabis industry, OrganiGram should be on your radar right now. This top-notch cultivator stands an excellent shot at being one of the few original pioneers still in the game come 2030.