What happened

Tilray (TLRY) shareholders trailed a declining market in September as the stock fell 28% compared to the S&P 500's 3.9% drop, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That decline added to slumping returns for the pot stock, which is down over 70% so far in 2020.

A distributor displays medicinal marjuana.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Tilray's only corporate news update last month was its release trumpeting positive results in a study testing the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients.

While that was good news for the industry, investors chose to focus instead on more concrete challenges facing Tilray and the wider marijuana niche, including regulatory burdens and uncertain growth opportunities. It didn't help that the company last reported only modest sales gains and continuing net losses for the fiscal second quarter. Sales gains slowed to 10% through late June, compared to a 126% spike in the prior quarter.

Now what

Those weak operating metrics mean that Tilray stock will likely stay pressured as long as investors' attitudes toward the marijuana stock niche remain conservative. Tilray can change that bearish narrative over the next few quarters, but only by demonstrating it is on a path toward sustainable profitability.