The global marijuana market is projected to grow at a rate of 18.1% until 2027 to reach a size of $73.6 billion, according to estimates from earlier this year (before the coronavirus pandemic). Those are some high growth numbers, indicative of the exciting opportunities ahead for the industry. Even companies from outside the marijuana industry are taking notice.
Although many big companies are still staying on the sidelines, there are a couple of notable names that aren't shying away from cannabis and are willing to take a chance on the industry and its attractive growth prospects. Below are two companies that not only have investments in the cannabis industry, but have increased their stakes this year.
1. Constellation Brands
Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) first dipped its toes into the cannabis industry in 2017 when it announced a strategic relationship with Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC). The Canadian-based pot producer was then the clear industry leader, and the partnership gave Constellation a 9.9% stake in the company for 245 million Canadian dollars. In 2018, it increased its stake in the company with a CA$5 billion investment.
Then, on May 1 of this year, Constellation announced that it was exercising warrants it obtained from its original investment in Canopy Growth. The move would bring Constellation's total ownership in the cannabis company up to 38.6%. And if it exercises more warrants and converts notes, it's possible the stake could rise as high as 55.8%.Constellation also invested human capital into the company when its former CFO, David Klein, took over as the new CEO of Canopy Growth earlier this year.
The company behind the popular Corona brand of beer is bullish on cannabis beverages, and Canopy Growth made its first shipment of Tweed Houndstooth & Soda on March 12. Survey data is showing that consumers like the new cannabis drinks and would buy them again. One-fifth of respondents also indicated they'd consume these drinks in place of alcohol.
Whether it's beverage sales or flower products, investing in cannabis givesa Constellation a way to offer its investors an area of high growth, which it badly needs. In its most recent fiscal year, the New York-based company's revenue grew by just 2.8%.
2. Alimentation Couche-Tard
Alimentation Couche-Tard (OTC:ANCU.F) is a Canadian-based convenience store giant with operations all over the world, known best for its Mac's and Circle K brands of stores. The company has been interested in cannabis since 2017, before Canada even legalized recreational marijuana (on Oct. 17, 2018).
Back then, Couche-Tard already indicated that it wanted to sell pot in its convenience stores in Canada in provinces where it would be legal to do so. In 2019, the company announced it was investing about CA$26 million into pot retailer Fire & Flower that would give it a 9.9% stake in the business.
The deal included warrants, and on July 23, Fire & Flower announced that Couche-Tard would be exercising some of those warrants, raising its ownership in the cannabis company to 15%. The move will also inject the pot retailer with an additional CA$19 million. If Couche-Tard were to exercise all of its warrants, it would own 50.1% of the company -- a controlling interest.
Earlier in July, Couche-Tard announced that Fire & Flower would be opening two retail stores near existing Circle K locations in the hopes that the stores will benefit from higher traffic. If successful, it's possible that similar stores may follow suit.
Although marijuana isn't sold in the Circle K stores themselves, owning the pot shop next door is the next best thing for a company that's looking to cash in on the popularity of cannabis.
Should you buy these two stocks today?
Both of these stocks are safer options than investing directly in cannabis producers and retailers. Profits are scarce in the cannabis industry, and both Couche-Tard and Constellation Brands recorded operating profits in each of the past five years. They're also established brands with strong track records for both growth and success.
Here's how the two stocks are doing this year:
Couche-Tard's been the better-performing stock in 2020, but investors shouldn't count Constellation out yet, not with Canopy Growth's new CEO looking to cut costs and bring the company closer to profitability.
If you want a safe way to invest in cannabis, either one of these two stocks could be great options to add to your portfolio today.