What happened 

Shares of Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) jumped Friday, following bullish analyst commentary. By the close of trading, the popular marijuana stock's price was up 14.4% after rising as much as 20.2% earlier in the day.

So what

Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett raised his rating on Tilray's stock from underperform to buy. He now sees the cannabis producer's share price rising 42% to $23, following its recently completed merger with Aphria.

A marijuana bud on top of rising stacks of gold coins.

Analysts at Jefferies see sizable gains ahead for Tilray's shareholders. Image source: Getty Images.

Bennett believes the combination of Aphria and Tilray is a "perfect match," as it brings together their leading positions in Canada and international markets. He posits that the newly formed company is well positioned to gain share in its existing markets -- and make a successful push into the U.S. market.

Now what

With a large global geographic footprint, industry-leading operational scale, and low-cost production facilities, Tilray is poised to compete and win in the rapidly expanding cannabis market. Better still, management expects to wring out roughly $81 million in annual expenses, which should help to bolster the company's profitability. Tilray, in turn, appears set to generate strong increases in sales and profits -- and, by extension, additional gains for its investors -- in the coming 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.