Where will the cannabis industry be in a decade? You can bet that it's going to look a lot different than it does now. More states could legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, and medical cannabis could be legalized at a national level. 

These prospects translate to tremendous opportunities for investors with a long-term perspective. But what are the best ways to capitalize on those opportunities? Here are three top marijuana stocks to buy and hold for the next 10 years.

Three cannabis leaves

Image source: Getty images.

Scotts Miracle-Gro

Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG) just might be the most likely to succeed with changes in the cannabis industry. Back during the gold-rush days, those who supplied picks and shovels to gold miners usually profited more than the gold miners themselves. Scotts is arguably the best picks-and-shovels cannabis stock on the market.

The company's Hawthorne segment ranks as a leading supplier of organic and hydroponics products to cannabis growers. Hawthorne has more than doubled in size over the last three years. With the continued expansion of the U.S. cannabis market, the business could be in a position to deliver strong double-digit percentage sales growth year in and year out.

You might think that Scott's core consumer lawn and garden business might be boring. However, the segment has generated sales growth of more than 35% over the last three years. That level of growth, fueled in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, probably won't be sustainable. Still, though, Scotts should be able to count on modest but steady growth for its consumer lawn and garden products over the long term.

Unlike many companies in the cannabis industry, Scotts is already profitable. It even pays a dividend that yields a little over 1%. Scotts Miracle-Gro just might be the safest marijuana stock to buy and hold on the market.

Innovative Industrial Properties

Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) stands out as another profitable company that serves the cannabis industry. The company is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on providing real estate capital to cannabis operators.

It's hard not to like IIP's business model. The company specializes in sale-leaseback deals where cannabis operators sell their properties to IIP, and then IIP leases them back to the operators under long-term agreements. The cannabis operators get access to capital, while IIP gets a steady revenue stream.

This approach has enabled IIP to deliver fantastic growth. Over the last three years, its trailing-12-month revenue has skyrocketed more than 1,000%. During this period, IIP's share price has soared more than 440%.

The company shouldn't have a difficult challenge completing more sale-leaseback transactions to fuel growth. Just last week, it closed its eighth deal of the year with a Michigan cannabis operator.

IIP also offers one of the most attractive dividends you'll find in the cannabis industry. Its dividend yield currently stands at 2.9%. The company has more than quintupled its dividend payout over the last three years. 

Cresco Labs

Are there any pure-play pot stocks that are great ones to buy and hold? Absolutely. Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) looks like one of the best.

The multistate cannabis operator (MSO) currently conducts business in 10 states. It has 32 retail cannabis stores and 44 retail licenses. Cresco is also the largest wholesaler of branded cannabis products in the U.S.

While Cresco delivered 271% year-over-year sales growth last year, the company is still only in its early innings. Cresco acquired Bluma Wellness a few weeks ago, a move that gives it a presence in the fast-growing medical cannabis market in Florida. It's also well-positioned to win in New York after the state's recent legalization of recreational marijuana

Cresco's valuation is more attractive than most of the other top U.S. MSOs. With the continued expansion of U.S. cannabis markets, this marijuana stock should have plenty of room to run during the next 10 years.

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.