What happened 

Shares of Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) popped 12.3% on Monday, following bullish analyst comments. 

So what 

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic named Aphria his top pick among Canadian cannabis stocks. He also boosted his price forecast from $7.86 to $8.23. Zuanic's new target price represents potential gains for investors of more than 40%, based on Aphria's closing stock price of $5.74.

A person is holding a cannabis leaf up to the sun.

Aphria's stock could deliver handsome returns to shareholders. Image source: Getty Images.

Zuanic predicts that Aphria will deliver sequential sales growth of 25% in its upcoming fourth-quarter results, thanks in part to market share gains. He also expects the cannabis producer to show a smaller cash burn as it reins in expenses.

Looking further ahead, Zuanic says Aphria could be a major winner within U.S. and Canadian cannabis markets that could grow to $31 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively, by 2024.

Now what 

Analysts are becoming more bullish on the cannabis industry's growth prospects, with some going so far as to predict that the U.S. could legalize marijuana at the federal level as early as 2021 should former Vice President Joe Biden win the presidential election in November and the Democrats gain control of Congress. Should this scenario play out, Aphria and other leading marijuana stocks could soar.

As for the near term, investors will have the opportunity to check in on Aphria's progress when it reports its fourth-quarter and full-year results on Wednesday, July 29. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.