In its first quarter, Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) not only convincingly beat analyst estimates, it also managed to more than double several key financial line items.

For the quarter, the company -- which is currently the only specialty marijuana-property real estate investment trust (REIT) on the stock market -- took in nearly $42.9 million in revenue. That was a 103% improvement over the prior-year quarter.

Net income and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO, widely considered to be a more accurate gauge of profitability for REITs) followed a similar trajectory. The former landed at nearly $25.6 million, well more than double the $11.5 million of last year's first quarter. The latter was $38.4 million, or $1.47 per share, from the year-ago quarter's $17.8 million.

Cannabis flower in a bowl on top of U.S. currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to Zacks, the average analyst estimate for AFFO was $1.42 per share. The company's $42.9 million in revenue edged past the collective prognosticator projection by nearly 4%.

Like any good REIT, Innovative has been busy adding to its highly specialized portfolio of properties. During the quarter, it acquired eight new ones, five of which are in states that have legalized the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana (a far larger market than the necessarily limited medical segment). One facility is in New York, where the ink is barely dry on that state's legalization law.

One great advantage Innovative has over many other REITs is that it frequently enters sale-leaseback deals for existing real estate that has already been developed. Cannabis companies are often short of cash, so selling their buildings to the REIT, then renting them from the new owner, is an elegant way to raise piles of capital quickly.

 
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.