Cresco Labs (CRLBF -1.16%) wasn't exactly a marijuana stock on fire Thursday, following the release of fiscal fourth-quarter 2020 results that left investors cold.

The quarter saw the multi-state operator (MSO) earn $162.3 million, a 6% improvement over the previous quarter and nearly four times higher than the Q4 2019 result. Cresco didn't hesitate to mention that this was a new record Q4 high for the company.

Marijuana flowers atop a collection of US currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

It didn't similarly emphasize its bottom-line result, as this was a loss of nearly $24.4 million. That compared unfavorably to the previous quarter's $4.9 million profit, although it was far better than the year-ago deficit of $45.2 million.

While the company slightly exceeded the average analyst estimate of $161.4 million for revenue, it fell short of the anticipated $0.02 per share net profit.

Cresco is a frequent and eager acquirer of assets, which gives the company greater scale and drives that revenue figure higher. But of course, acquisitions and expansions cost money, and such activities contributed strongly to the Q4 bottom-line loss. Cresco has ambitions to be an important player throughout the U.S., which remains a patchwork of states that have not legalized marijuana, or have done so fully or partially.

That said, the company is doing well in its mission to expand its footprint and has relatively good positions in markets that are currently fully legal (like its home state of Illinois, for one) and those that soon will be (like New York). Investors who believe American cannabis retail has a future shouldn't be discouraged by Cresco's mixed Q4.

Some are heading for the exits, though. On Thursday, in contrast to the 0.5% rise of the S&P 500 index, Cresco stock fell by 1.3%.