As the legal cannabis market continues to extend across the U.S., potentially game-changing investment opportunities are popping up right under our noses. Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 1.52%) is one of them. Even though the month isn't over yet, Green Thumb has already had a busy and successful March.

The company has wasted no time taking steps toward its own growth and expansion. Green Thumb's newest venture is retail store space in the largest legal cannabis market in the world -- California -- which opened on March 10. And if that's not enough to get you interested, its revenues are growing, and analysts are taking notice by raising stock price targets.

Person purchases cannabis in mason jars using a credit card.

Image source: Getty Images.

California connection

The opening of Essence Pasadena marked Green Thumb's first retail store in California, increasing its total national retail store count to 53 across 11 states. This follows the announcement on March 1 that it had entered into an exclusive partnership with leading cannabis-infused beverage brand Cann to carry its line of sparkling beverages beginning this spring in Illinois.

It just so happens that Cann got its start in Venice, California, in 2019, and has become a local favorite for those in Hollywood. Referencing a report by BDS Analytics, Green Thumb noted that in California, cannabis beverage category sales grew nearly four times faster than total cannabis market sales in 2020.

In addition to potential California gold, Green Thumb founder and CEO Ben Kovler said, "We are investing in the space and in the Cann team and we couldn't be more excited to bring California's #1 cannabis beverage brand to Illinois and beyond." 

And for those of you who, like me, enjoy fun facts, how about this: Green Thumb's newest retail store, Essence Pasadena, is located at 908 E. Colorado Blvd. The state of Colorado, in 2012, became one of the two first states in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

Giving back

Though Green Thumb is highly focused on retail stores, partnerships, and strong growth, it has not forgotten about the people and communities that help make the company successful.

As has become a standard for Green Thumb upon store openings, profits from the March 10 event and a special March 20 guest appreciation grand opening in California will be donated back to the community. The recipient of the profits from these events is the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which supports minority and women-owned businesses.

Green Thumb followed up the California-related announcements by introducing a new retail location in Paramus, New Jersey -- the second for that state. And staying true to form, it donated profits from opening day sales to Paramus Children's Health Foundation to support the foundation's important work assisting the families of children suffering from serious illnesses. The mere fact that Green Thumb gives back to its community tells you a lot about the company. It is investing in doing what's right -- building a relationship of trust with the people it serves.

More to come

The company has no intention of stopping in Pasadena. It holds licenses for a total of 97 retail locations in the U.S., allowing for a minimum of 43 more store openings in the future. In addition, revenues for the fourth quarter and year-end came in at record levels, highlighted by a 157% revenue increase year over year and a positive GAAP income of $0.07 per share, compared to a loss of $0.31 per share the prior year.

This recently led analysts at Cowen and Piper Sandler to raise their stock price targets to $45 and $40 per share respectively. Hitting those targets could mean a 43% increase from the closing price of $31.40 as of March 24.

California is likely to maintain its title of the largest legal cannabis market in the world; experts are estimating the market to generate between $6.9 billion to $8.1 billion in annual adult-use sales by 2024. If Green Thumb's current growth rates and strategy are any indication of what the future holds, we might be looking at a new California gold rush, with Green Thumb at the heart of it.