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2 Cannabis Stocks That Have Big Question Marks Heading Into Earnings in November

By David Jagielski – Oct 28, 2021 at 5:30AM

Key Points

  • Both Planet 13 and Trulieve report earnings next month, and investors should expect to see some updates on new markets.
  • Planet 13 has opened a new location in California, and the company has been fairly quiet on how the new store is doing.
  • Trulieve has been a dominant force in Florida, but with sales starting to slow down, other markets will be key.

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Can Trulieve and Planet 13 deliver strong numbers outside of their home states?

Next month is when many large marijuana companies report their earnings. And for cannabis investors, there are plenty of storylines to follow as there has been a lot of noise in the sector of late. Mergers and acquisitions have picked up this year and more states have legalized marijuana.

Two cannabis companies that I will be watching closely when they report earnings in November are Planet 13 Holdings (PLNH.F -2.76%) and Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF -1.11%). There are some key question marks surrounding both of their businesses that hopefully their latest earnings reports will answer.

A person looking at a cannabis bag outdoors.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Planet 13

Sometimes it's what a company doesn't say that can offer hints to investors as to what is going on with a business. Cannabis producer Planet 13 normally isn't shy when it comes to talking about sales records and strong results. It announced that in April, May, and July, it hit single-month sales records.

However, there's been no such update since. While I don't doubt that its Las Vegas-based SuperStore dispensary is doing well amid reopenings and more travel, the bigger question lies around its new location in Santa Ana, California. If Planet 13 were to announce monthly results for Las Vegas, surely, it would need to report on how Santa Ana is doing as well. And that's where the silence is concerning. Besides reporting that the new dispensary did $800k in revenue in its first month (July), there hasn't been much of an update for investors as to how the new location is doing. 

The company last reported its quarterly results in August, when sales of $32.8 million for the period ending June 30 grew 205% year over year. It also reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) profit of $7.2 million (compared to a loss a year ago).

This upcoming quarter will be the first to include results from Santa Ana, and my concern is that with the company's lack of press releases about its new location, the results may be underwhelming. Not only that, but the added overhead that will come with running an additional location could chip away at those EBITDA numbers and put the business back into the red.

Investors may already be anticipating a bad quarter. Shares of the stock have fallen more than 40% in just the past six months (the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF is down as well, but at 25%, its losses aren't as deep). And if Planet 13 doesn't deliver a positive surprise next month, it wouldn't be a shock to see the stock crash even further down.

2. Trulieve

Cannabis producer Trulieve is now the largest marijuana company in the world in terms of revenue after completing its acquisition of Harvest Health at the start of October. But since that acquisition just closed, Trulieve's upcoming results won't include Harvest Health's numbers (it will only cover the period up until the end of September) -- unless it does so on a pro forma basis.

However, there are still plenty of things for investors to watch out for. The biggest question is how the company's operations are doing outside of Florida. Trulieve is a dominant force in its home state -- it just opened its 100th dispensary there earlier this month. And while I do like the company's approach of going big in top markets, I also wonder if maybe Trulieve is too deep into Florida. As of Oct. 22, the company had more than double the number of dispensing locations that the next largest cannabis operator in the state had -- Liberty Health Sciences (42).

While Trulieve's dominance in Florida is evident by its strong sales numbers, the company is going to need to start focusing on other states for growth opportunities sooner or later. For the second quarter ending June 30, Trulieve's revenue of $215.1 million was up 78% year over year. But when compared to the first quarter, it only rose by 11%. That may be a sign that the company is reaching a point of saturation in Florida, making it all the more paramount for Trulieve to show it can deploy successful operations in other markets as well.

To its credit, Trulieve did acquire Harvest Health, which will give it a strong presence in other markets, including Arizona. And Trulieve has acquired licenses in other markets, including Georgia, where it entered its seventh state -- prior to the acquisition of Harvest Health. Now, with the deal done, it has dispensaries in 11 states. 

In its Q2 earnings release, Trulieve said it was operational in Massachusetts and West Virginia (its newest markets outside of Georgia). One thing investors should definitely look for in the upcoming earnings results is any word on how the business is doing in those and other markets, which also include its operations in California, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

Performing well in Florida isn't going to be enough to make Trulieve a good long-term buy -- especially if the state legalizes recreational use and more competition floods the market. And that's why despite its strong numbers thus far, the company still has a lot to prove, and I wouldn't invest in it just yet.

David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Planet 13 Holdings Inc. and Trulieve Cannabis Corp. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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