If you're looking for a hot market to invest in, the cannabis industry could be right up your alley. In particular, the U.S. cannabis market is booming.

There are lots of cannabis stocks that you could buy. But as with any industry, some pot stocks are better than others. Here are three top cannabis stocks you can buy right now that should be big winners over the long run.

Three cannabis leaves

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Innovative Industrial Properties

Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) ranks as the leading real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on the medical cannabis industry. Its stock has doubled so far in 2020 and seems likely to keep the momentum going.

There's no mystery as to why IIP has been so successful. The company buys properties from medical cannabis operators, then leases the properties back to the operators. This gives IIP a steady revenue stream. All it has to do to grow is to keep finding more sale-leaseback deals.

That hasn't been a problem so far for IIP. In less than 11 months, the REIT has increased its number of properties to 64 from 46. It shouldn't be too difficult for IIP to keep up its "rinse-and-repeat" business model, either. There are now 35 states that have voted to legalize medical cannabis. IIP currently operates in only 16 of them, many of which are still in their early stages.

In addition to strong revenue and earnings growth, IIP also gives investors another bonus -- a juicy dividend. The company's dividend yield stands at a little over 3%. IIP has boosted its dividend payout by a whopping 368% over the last three years. Look for continued dividend growth in the future.

2. Green Thumb Industries

Green Thumb Industries (OTC:GTBIF) is one of the largest multistate cannabis operators in the U.S. The company recently opened its 50th retail cannabis store. Green Thumb also operates 13 manufacturing facilities. Its shares have soared more than 100% year to date.

All you have to do is look at Green Thumb's third-quarter results to understand why its stock has performed so well. The company reported revenue of $157.1 million, up 131% year over year and 31% quarter over quarter. Green Thumb also posted its first profitable quarter and its third-consecutive quarter of positive operating cash flow.

Can Green Thumb keep growing at such a rapid pace? Probably. Several of its key markets, particularly in Illinois and Pennsylvania, continue to expand significantly. The company still has another 46 licenses for retail locations that it hasn't used yet. 

Even better, four states voted earlier this month to legalize recreational marijuana. Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler is especially excited about one of them. Kovler recently stated, "New Jersey is great news for us as we think that legal market has the potential to mirror Illinois -- a single state, multibillion-dollar legal cannabis market about to be born."

3. Planet 13 Holdings

Planet 13 Holdings (OTC:PLNH.F) is a different kind of cannabis company. It operates a cannabis superstore just off the Las Vegas Strip that has been described as "the Disneyland of cannabis." But Planet 13 stock has delivered a much better performance than Disney so far this year with its share price nearly doubling.

What makes Planet 13's big gain really impressive is that the company has faced huge challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic caused tourism in Vegas to evaporate for part of the year. As you might expect, this severely impacted Planet 13's revenue.

However, the company's management team quickly pivoted to a different business model where it delivered cannabis products to Nevada residents. This carried the company through the toughest period of the pandemic with shutdowns across the U.S. But Planet 13 is bouncing back strongly.

It's even expanding, with a new superstore in California scheduled to open in the first half of 2021 and another Nevada dispensary opening this year. Planet 13 thinks that it can replicate its success in Las Vegas in other U.S. markets. Once the pandemic is over, this unique pot stock could really be in a position to fly higher.

A potential wild card

While Innovative Industrial Properties' shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange, Green Thumb and Planet 13 can't list their shares on a major U.S. stock exchange, as long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the U.S. IIP doesn't have that limitation since it isn't directly involved in producing or selling cannabis products.

There's still a possibility that federal laws could be changed, though. If that happens at some point in the future, expect Green Thumb and Planet 13 to quickly list their shares on a major exchange. This would almost certainly provide huge catalysts for both stocks.

IIP would also likely benefit from the further legitimization of the U.S. cannabis market. The possibility for changes to federal laws is a potential wild card that could make these three stocks even better picks.

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.