Many cannabis investors have suffered significant losses in recent years as marijuana companies have failed to deliver on promises of explosive growth. But the opportunities are far from gone, and there are still good marijuana stocks out there. With many states reporting strong marijuana sales this year, 2020 could be the year when several pot companies bounce back.
Below are two that are among the industry's leaders. Both are likely to post strong numbers this yea -- and that could send their shares soaring, potentially even doubling in value.
1. Cresco Labs
Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) is a U.S. cannabis company that's slowly starting to creep up and gain market share. On May 28, the Illinois-based company released its first-quarter results -- and sales of $66.4 million were up more than 60% from the fourth quarter, when it reported $41.4 million. It's the fourth straight quarter in which the cannabis producer has produced positive quarter-over-quarter sales growth. And those numbers could continue to get bigger as it expands its reach in its home market, where cannabis sales have been taking off this year. Cresco launched its eighth dispensary in Illinois on July 13, bringing it to a total of 18 U.S. stores up and running.
Shares of Cresco are down more than 30% in the past year, while the benchmark Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (OTC:HMLSF) has declined by 55%. The stock's currently trading at about 4.3 times its revenue, and its value could rise in one of two ways. The first is if people simply value the stock at a higher multiple (industry giant Canopy Growth trades at around 20 times its sales), and the second is if Cresco's sales numbers continue to grow, which could happen if it's able to just maintain its current sales numbers. The former may not happen, but the latter is almost a certainty given the red-hot U.S. cannabis market, which looks on track to grow by 40% this year.
According to its website, Cresco is operational in nine states and possesses 29 retail licenses.
Curaleaf Holdings (OTC:CURLF) is not as cheap a buy as Cresco, with its stock trading at more than 12 times revenue. However, Curaleaf's also a much bigger pot stock with a bigger presence in the U.S. for which investors are willing to pay a premium.
On July 23, the Massachusetts-based company announced the completion of its acquisition of diversified cannabis operator Grassroots, which expands Curaleaf's presence from 18 states to 23. It now has 88 operational dispensaries, and its cultivation capacity totals 1.6 million square feet.
Curaleaf's been wheeling and dealing over the past year in an effort to dominate the U.S. market. In February it closed on its acquisition of Cura Partners, the owner of the popular Select brand of cannabis products. So far, Select has mainly been well-known on the West Coast, particularly in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. But Curaleaf's been working to expand that brand into more states.
In May, it announced it was partnering with Mango Cannabis to get Select products in Oklahoma. And on July 10, it completed its acquisition of BlueKudu, which will help further expand its Select brand in Colorado. Curaleaf also announced on July 16 that Select would be available in Maine, putting the brand into more than 800 dispensaries across 11 states. With so much expansion, Curaleaf's going to get even bigger than it is today.
The company last reported its quarterly results May 18, when it released its first-quarter numbers. Sales of $96.5 million in Q1 represented a 28% jump from the fourth quarter and 174% growth from the prior-year period. Its pro forma sales, which are calculated as if its pending acquisitions had closed on Jan. 1, were $147.4 million. If Curaleaf can maintain that over a 12-month period, its revenue will be $590 million. That would bring its P/S ratio down to just 7.3.
Shares of Curaleaf are flat over the past 12 months.
Which stock is the better buy today?
Both cannabis stocks have struggled over the past year, but so far in 2020 there's been a lot more bullishness surrounding Curaleaf:
Although its valuation is pricier than Cresco's, the sky looks to be the limit for Curaleaf. Not only will it benefit from rising cannabis sales, but its growing presence in new markets sets up the cannabis company for what could be some very strong numbers this year. But while one has more potential this year than the other, but both pot stocks could double from where they are right now, given their (relatively) low valuations and the opportunities that lay ahead.