Although all eyes have been on work-from-home stocks over the past couple of months, Wall Street may be ignoring one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet over the next decade: marijuana. In the U.S. alone, legal weed sales could triple between 2019 and 2024.
But the cannabis industry is also navigating its way through some expected growing pains. Canada has dealt with no shortage of supply issues, while high tax rates in the U.S. have made it difficult for licensed producers to compete with black-market growers.
In spite of these challenges, Wall Street's current consensus has 10 pure-play pot stocks on track to report a full-year profit in calendar year 2021. Assuming these consensus figures are in the ballpark of being correct, here are the 10 pure-play cannabis stocks that could bring home the green next year (listed in no particular order).
1. Innovative Industrial Properties
Within the publicly traded cannabis universe, no company is more likely to generate a profit in 2021 than Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR -1.44%). Innovative Industrial Properties is a cannabis-focused real estate investment trust (REIT), which simply means that it buys medical marijuana cultivation and processing sites and leases them out for a long time (usually 10 to 20 years). It's a highly predictable operating model with transparent cash flow that's being aided by an abundance of property acquisitions via sale-leaseback agreements.
Wall Street will be looking for more than $5 in earnings per share (EPS) in 2021.
2. GW Pharmaceuticals
GW Pharmaceuticals' (GWPH) management team dislikes when their company is lumped in with cannabis stocks. But when your business model is cannabinoid-based drug development, that'll happen.
GW Pharmaceuticals' key catalyst is the skyrocketing sales of cannabidiol (CBD)-based Epidiolex, which is approved to treat two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex. Next year, sales of GW's leading drug are forecast to jump by more than 50%, with Wall Street looking for just north of $2 in full-year EPS.
3. Charlotte's Web Holdings
Hemp-based CBD company Charlotte's Web (CWBHF 6.77%) has been an absolute train wreck since last August, with the company's sales growth stalling and its share price cratering nearly 90%. Much of the disappointment surrounds the unwillingness of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow CBD as an additive to food, beverages, and dietary supplements. This'll limit CBD to topicals, oils, and a handful of other products for the time being.
But even with these setbacks, Charlotte's Web should push back into the profit column next year, with Wall Street calling for a $0.04 full-year profit on the heels of almost 50% sales growth.
4. Curaleaf Holdings
Curaleaf (CURLF -1.81%), the largest publicly traded U.S. multistate operator (MSO), and the pot stock on track to be the first to generate $1 billion in annual sales, is pegged by Wall Street to produce $0.11 in EPS next year.
Curaleaf's biggest catalysts are the two monster deals it closed this year. It first completed the buyout of Cura Partners, which owned the well-known Select brand of cannabis products. Secondly, Curaleaf closed its acquisition of privately held MSO Grassroots. Today, Curaleaf's 93 operational dispensaries are far and away more than any other MSO in the United States.
5. Acreage Holdings
Another MSO expected to push into the green in 2021 is Acreage Holdings (ACRGF). Acreage is probably best-known for agreeing to a now amended deal to be acquired by Canada's Canopy Growth if the U.S. federal government legalizes cannabis at the federal level.
What you might not know is Acreage was a bit overzealous with its U.S. expansion plans and has pared back its acquisition strategy to conserve capital. It has the ability to open as many as 71 total dispensaries across 15 states, and is forecast by Wall Street to eke out a $0.03 per-share profit in 2021.
6. Cresco Labs
It's probably no surprise to anyone who follows the marijuana industry that MSO Cresco Labs (CRLBF -1.64%) is expected to slightly push into the green in 2021. It is, after all, one of the fastest-growing pot stocks. Wall Street is looking for a modest $0.06 per-share profit in the upcoming year.
Cresco Labs' primary growth driver is wholesale, which is fueled by the Jan. 2020 purchase of Origin House. Since Origin House is one of a select few cannabis distribution license holders in California, this deal gave Cresco access to over 575 dispensaries in the Golden State. Cresco also operates 19 dispensaries, roughly half of which are located in the limited-license state of Illinois.
7. Trulieve Cannabis
Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF -2.56%), like Innovative Industrial Properties, is another no-brainer to be profitable next year. That's because it's the most nominally profitable pot stock at the moment. Next year, Wall Street is expecting Trulieve to produce $1.13 in EPS.
The secret to Trulieve's success has been its laser focus on the Florida market. Even though the company has a presence in five states (including a pair of recently announced deals), 59 of its 61 operational dispensaries are located in the Sunshine State. By saturating Florida, Trulieve has gobbled up half the state's medical marijuana market share and kept its marketing costs way down.
8. Green Thumb Industries
In case you haven't noticed a theme by now, how about another U.S. MSO, Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 0.17%). Not only is Green Thumb on track for $0.32 in EPS next year, but Wall Street's forecast calls for a nominal profit of $0.01 for this year on the heels of 133% expected sales growth.
Green Thumb currently has 48 operational dispensaries, with licenses to open as many as 96 in a dozen states. This profit forecast is based on its targeted store openings in potential billion-dollar markets, like Illinois and Nevada, as well as the fact that around two-thirds of the company's sales are derived from high-margin derivatives (e.g., edibles, beverages, vapes, and topicals).
9. Planet 13 Holdings
Have I mentioned that U.S. MSOs are killing it? The final MSO on pace to become profitable in 2021 is the unique Planet 13 Holdings (PLNH.F). Next year is expected to feature a more-than-doubling in sales and $0.11 in EPS.
What makes Planet 13 unique is its approach to retail. Rather than focusing on saturation, the company's approach is to wow consumers. Planet 13's only operational dispensary, for the time being, is a 112,000-square-foot building west of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. It offers a massive selection of dried cannabis, derivatives, and paraphernalia, and incorporates technology to ease the buying process. Soon, Planet 13 will open a second location totaling 40,000 square feet in Santa Ana, Calif., just 10 minutes from Disneyland.
10. Valens Company
Last, but not least, we have the only Canadian pot stock to make the list, Valens (VLNS 3.78%). Wall Street will be looking for the hemp and cannabis processor to generate $0.05 in full-year EPS in 2021.
Though Valens has had a rough go of things lately as licensed producers in Canada have drastically cut back on production, it does have the advantage of signing up customers with transparent contracts that are frequently longer than a year. Since derivatives generate much juicier margins than dried cannabis, they're a must-have for any licensed producers' portfolio. As derivative sales ramp up in Canada and supply issues subside, Valens should see steadier operating results.