After years of waiting, the big day has finally arrived for North American cannabis stocks. In 2021, more than half a dozen pot stocks are expected to push into the black. This will definitively demonstrate that the legal weed industry is legitimate and can be a serious moneymaker.
After (pardon the pun) weeding through dozens of marijuana stocks, I found seven that Wall Street forecasts will be profitable in the upcoming year. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Green Thumb Industries
I'm very excited about vertically integrated U.S. multistate operator (MSO) Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 3.48%). Its focus on Illinois, tourist-heavy Nevada, and New Jersey should allow it to reach $1 billion in annual sales by 2022. All three states are on track to generate more than $1 billion in annual weed revenue by 2024, with Nevada forecast to lead the country in cannabis spending per capita.
Aside from its state-level focus, Green Thumb's product mix is the secret to its success. Approximately two-thirds of the company's revenue stems from high-margin derivatives -- a product category that includes edibles, infused beverages, vapes, concentrates, and topicals. By pushing these higher-priced and higher-margin goods, Green Thumb has set itself up to turn the corner to profitability more quickly than most of its peers.
2. Trulieve Cannabis
Trulieve's focus on the Florida market drives its outperformance. The company has 73 operational dispensaries nationwide, 68 of which are located in the Sunshine State. By saturating Florida, where medical marijuana is legal, Trulieve has been able to gobble up roughly half the state's market share. Meanwhile, it has successfully built up its brand, which has helped keep its marketing costs down.
Florida is also widely expected to put a recreational cannabis legalization amendment on its ballot in 2022. Assuming Trulieve continues to maximize its saturation within the Sunshine State, it'll be in pole position to maintain or grow its share of statewide cannabis revenue.
3. Curaleaf Holdings
Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF 4.06%) is another MSO that should deliver the green in 2021.
Curaleaf looks like it will be the first cannabis stock to hit $1 billion in annual sales -- a feat Wall Street has projected will happen next year. The company's acquisitions of the Select brand earlier this year and privately held MSO Grassroots are key to hitting this milestone. At the moment, Curaleaf's 96 operational dispensaries count leads all other MSOs. Further, it possesses over 130 dispensary licenses, implying it can open another three dozen locations.
Unlike Trulieve and its narrow focus, Curaleaf has subscribed to the blanket strategy. Curaleaf has a presence in 23 states. It should receive a nice boost from New Jersey waving the green flag on adult-use cannabis. Interestingly, Curaleaf's 33 Florida locations make it Trulieve's primary competitor.
4. Planet 13 Holdings
If you haven't noticed, U.S. MSOs are blazing-hot. Unique dispensary stock Planet 13 Holdings (PLNH.F 5.03%) is yet another that should turn the corner to recurring profits next year.
Planet 13 stands out from the crowd for the experience and selection it gives consumers. Its flagship SuperStore is located just west of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada and spans 112,000 square feet. For context, the average Walmart is 105,000 square feet. Planet 13 is packing this gigantic location with an events center, consumer-facing processing center, restaurant, immersion station, and plenty of sales space. It's quickly become a must-see for cannabis enthusiasts, with average ticket size vaulting above $100.
Planet 13 is also set to open a second location in Santa Ana, California, next year. This 40,000-square-foot location is roughly 10 minutes from Disneyland (insert Southern California traffic jokes here). It will rely on the same blueprint that made the Las Vegas SuperStore such a success.
5. Cresco Labs
Surprise! Another MSO is slated to become profitable in 2021. Wall Street thinks Cresco Labs (CRLBF 8.11%) will go green thanks to its soaring sales growth.
The Cresco operating model has two core growth drivers. The first is the company's retail operations. It possesses 29 dispensary licenses and has 19 operational retail stores. Approximately half of these open locations are in the limited license state of Illinois. By maximizing its presence in the Land of Lincoln, it's securing healthy market share in what will become a billion-dollar market.
The second growth catalyst for Cresco Labs is its wholesale operations. Origin House, which Cresco acquired in an all-stock deal in January, was one of a small handful of companies to possess a cannabis distribution license in California. Gaining hold of this distribution license allows Cresco to place its products into more than 575 dispensaries throughout the Golden State (i.e., the most lucrative pot market in the world).
6. Columbia Care
Columbia Care (CCHWF -1.88%) is also projected to turn the corner to profitability next year, according to Wall Street's consensus.
For years, Columbia Care primarily focused on medical cannabis retail and manufacturing. Now that cannabis demand and state-level legalizations are ramping up, the company is beginning to include recreational brands and wholesale. Today, the company is operating 76 dispensaries in 18 states, along with two dozen manufacturing facilities.
Aside from increasing demand for pot products, Columbia Care is moving the needle with acquisitions. In early September, Columbia Care completed the acquisition of The Green Solution, which is Colorado's leading vertically integrated cannabis operator. Colorado is currently the second-largest market in the U.S. by marijuana sales, which positions Columbia Care to quickly grow its sales.
7. Innovative Industrial Properties
Last but not least is the most profitable pure-play pot stock on a per-share basis: Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR -0.37%).
Innovative Industrial Properties is a cannabis-focused real estate investment trust (REIT). This simply means it acquires medical marijuana cultivation and processing assets and leases them out for long periods of time (10 to 20 years). IIP, as the company is known, reaps the benefits of rental income. It's also able to pass along annual rental hikes to stay ahead of the inflationary curve. As of mid-November, IIP owned 64 properties in 16 states, with over 99% of its 5.2 million square feet of space rented out.
Innovative Industrial Properties' sale-leaseback program has also been a serious boon. Since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, some pot companies have struggled to access cash. IIP's business model solves this problem. This financial lifeline for cannabis companies has allowed IIP to snag numerous long-term tenants.