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What Makes Cannabis Stock Jushi's Growth Strategy Stand Out?

By Rachel Warren – Oct 31, 2021 at 7:15AM

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The founder of Jushi Holdings explains the company's specific approach to growing its business in the highly competitive cannabis sector.

With so many players in the booming world of marijuana stocks, how is a company to differentiate itself enough to beat the volatility of this industry and keep investors coming back for more? In this Motley Fool Live segment, aired on Oct. 21, Fool.com contributor Rachel Warren interviews Jim Cacioppo, the CEO and founder of Jushi Holdings (JUSHF -7.72%), about exactly what sets the company apart from other cannabis players. 

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Jim Cacioppo: I'll switch to your second question, which is what makes Jushi different, and we've been getting that a lot and I think it's a great question. I think there's probably about 10 different, what I call, investable MSOs [multi-state operators], which is why we're getting this question.

When I say investable, and I'm talking about the public ones, there's another 10 or so that I don't think they are investable because they just don't have the balance sheets or the management teams, and they probably don't belong to be public for the next 10, in my view. Some of them are rather big, but I wouldn't touch them. There's 10 that are investable, and I think we're definitely one of them. We're one of the smallest one of that 10. What makes us so interesting is, No. 1, we're the fastest-growing cannabis company over the past three years.

In the second quarter of 2021, we grew revenue at a 220% annual rate, annualized, which is huge. Companies like Facebook are doing 25%, and everybody loves those companies and Amazon, those kinds of companies. In a year, we're doing 220%, and it's not just the law of small numbers, because our second-quarter numbers annualized at about a little over $190 million for the quarter. Obviously, that's super exciting.

We think that growth continues, and I'll get into why. We have a very concentrated footprint and that my M&A [mergers and acquisitions] background and some of the people that helped me start the company, we did a great job in assembling assets in great states.

I would say our top three assets that we like to focus on, in the great state of Pennsylvania, right now in the legislature, there's a cannabis bill to go adult use. It's been a fantastic medical market. I believe it's been the best medical market in the country at the current time.

Arizona was a good one, it went adult use, and I think this has been really second best in terms of the rate of growth and the adoption by the patients and the consumers. We have the max footprint of 18 retail, they'll all be open by the end of the year, and then we have a grower processer of footprint that we're scaling to 190,000 by the end of next year, capable of producing about 70,000 pounds a year, which is a big number. It's about to go adult use, so that's super exciting. We're doing over $100 million revenues in Pennsylvania right now and when that goes adult-use, usually it goes up by a multiple of two or three times.

Then we have the great state of Virginia, and we probably have the most unique licenses in the whole industry and I would say most valuable license because we have an exclusive right to serve Northern Virginia. I know that your audience are bright, but Northern Virginia is one of the best metropolises to be in, in terms of growth and demographic and all that stuff. It ranks with probably Austin, Texas, in terms of the growth and where people go and the amount of millennials and young professionals.

They're great cannabis consumers, and we have exclusive right through six stores that were putting fantastic huge stores that are really top of the industry in terms of what they can do. What we're, again, putting in 190,000 square feet of capacity, that can do about 70,000 pounds a year, again in Virginia. And Virginia has already adopted adult-use in 2024. We have the ability to scale that business up in anticipation of adult-use in what is the fastest-changing medical market. We were able to pick that license up at $33 million, which is a steal, companies would probably pay as well over a quarter-billion dollars now.

We got that because it's a sleepy medical market and it transformed into a great medical market because it's a very progressive state from a political perspective. And they just went quick, quicker than we've ever seen. It was a fantastic investment by Jushi. We have tons of future revenue growth just based on those two states. Our third state we won't go into is well known is Illinois, and it is adult use, and we do about $80 million of sales, there. We have fantastic quarters. Through M&A, we can take that to 10, which is the cap, and then add the grower processors. We have growth there as well.

That takes me to what makes Jushi different. No. 2 is our M&A skills, I think, are second to none. Remember my background, hedge fund, private equity. We have a private equity M&A team in Jushi that I think is the best in the industry, whether you're an investment bank or private equity firm investing, but they only have one client, and that's Jushi. If you look at our track record of deals, the $33 million for Virginia is amazing.

We have acquired 18 dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania for $80 million in total. Those companies are paying $80 [million] to $120 million these days. Every month, a couple happen. For three, they pay $80 [million] to $120 million, and we have 18. That was tremendous, and then we picked up $80 million of revenues, which is now $80 million of revenues in Illinois for 12.5 million bucks. Those are three examples of deals that are just home runs. I would challenge anybody to produce better deals than those. I don't think you can.

And more to come, we just did a deal in Massachusetts of under three times EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] for a great business, so we just continue to do that. I think those are the two things I'd really focus on. We have a fantastic management team as well to manage that. Does that make us different? Well, I think some of the top companies do, and I think we're a small company that has that. I'm really excited about Jushi.

Rachel Warren: Excellent. Thank you so much for sharing a bit about your growth strategy, and I'll follow up on that here in a little bit. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rachel Warren owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Facebook, and Jushi Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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