The marijuana industry is growing like a weed, and both Wall Street and the investment community have taken notice.
According to Wall Street, the global pot industry has a shot at between $50 billion and $75 billion in annual sales by the end of the next decade. This would pace the green rush on par with global soda sales, to add some context. With so many revenue dollars rushing into the industry, the big question left to be answered is, where will they go?
For the most part, Wall Street and investors have focused their attention on the 10 largest cannabis growers in Canada, as well as the vertically integrated, multistate cannabis dispensary business model in the United States. It's pretty easy to be excited when a grower is on track for perhaps 700,000 kilos of peak production, or a company could soon have 123 retail dispensaries open across 16 states.
But the fact of the matter is that there's an entire world of pot stocks flying below the mainstream radar. And while many of these marijuana stocks are speculative, a few stand out as particularly intriguing. If you have a high tolerance for investing risk and volatility, as well as understand that this is an industry that requires patience as it matures, then these three speculative pot stocks could be worth buying.
Arguably, the most intriguing speculative marijuana stock is small-cap Aleafia Health (NASDAQOTH: ALEAF), which is probably an unknown for most cannabis investors.
Nearly three weeks ago, Aleafia completed its all-stock acquisition of Emblem, creating a considerably larger network of health clinics throughout Canada, but more importantly bringing a lot of future cannabis production under one umbrella.
The combination of Aleafia Health and Emblem now has 40 branded clinical health centers that have treated approximately 60,000 patients to date in Canada. Since customer loyalty is tough to come by in the early stages of the marijuana industry's maturation process, operating 40 health clinics provides Aleafia with an opportunity to supply these patients with in-house cannabis products. That should help improve loyalty, as well as lift its operating margins since medical pot patients are far more likely than recreational users to purchase higher margin alternative cannabis products.
When fully operational, Aleafia Health is expected to generate 98,000 kilos in peak annual output, with Emblem adding another 40,000 kilos. Combined, we're talking about 138,000 kilos of peak yearly production, which would actually slot Aleafia in as the nation's seventh-largest grower. That's pretty impressive for a company that doesn't even have a $400 million market cap at the moment.
The biggest question mark is what Aleafia might do to sell its cannabis beyond just its network of patients. This uncertainty, along with the issuance of new shares to finance the Emblem deal, looks to be what's holding this stock back. But given the proper amount of time and some provincial dealmaking, Aleafia Health could be quite the bargain.
The Supreme Cannabis Company
One of the best ways to make money in the marijuana industry is by focusing on niches. Whereas most pot stock investors are laser-focused on peak production figures, they may not be paying appropriate attention to the quality of the cannabis being produced. The bulk of what's on the market would fall into the discount or average category. What The Supreme Cannabis Company (NASDAQOTH: SPRWF) aims to bring to the table is a premium quality cannabis with a notably higher price point.
The market for premium-quality cannabis is much smaller than discount or average marijuana. However, it tends to target a more affluent clientele who isn't necessarily attached to the traditional values of cannabis culture. That makes this customer less likely to balk at higher prices, as well as change their buying habits if minor hiccups in the Canada or global economy. In other words, The Supreme Cannabis Co.'s target audience has money and they aren't afraid to spend it on premium flower.
According to a company press release from nearly two weeks ago, an additional 60,000 square feet of its 7Acres cultivation facility was licensed by Health Canada. With 18 of 25 grow rooms now licensed for production, the company estimates its new annual run-rate to be 26,250 kilos. But by mid-2019, the full 7Acres facility should be licensed, allowing Supreme Cannabis to produce roughly 50,000 kilos of premium pot per year across 440,000 square feet. That's a crop yield per square foot that's about 15% better than the industry average.
Furthermore, Supreme Cannabis recently announced that it would introduce a line of premium oil products beginning sometime this month.
The company's focus on high-margin premium flower (and now oils), its above-average yields per square foot, and its single campus, which should reduce supply chain costs, could help Supreme Cannabis turn a healthy profit a lot sooner than Wall Street expects.
A final under-the-radar and potentially speculative pot stock to consider adding to your portfolio is Cresco Labs (NASDAQOTH: CRLBF).
Cresco Labs is neither a pure-play grower nor a pure-play retailer of cannabis, which is why it tends to fly under the radar for most investors. Instead, it's angling to become a powerhouse in California through its recently announced 1.1 billion Canadian dollar, all-stock acquisition of Origin House (NASDAQOTH: ORHOF), which itself was on the path to becoming a successful middleman in California's cannabis market.
You see, California is expected to see more than a thousand unique items gracing retailers' shelves, with at least a couple hundred licensed dispensaries in the state. But California is only going to approve a small handful of distribution licenses that allow marijuana to be transported from Point A to B. Origin House has been gobbling up smaller players in this distribution space and aims to reap the rewards of limited competition within this niche. It recently introduced Continuum as its statewide distribution brand and has nabbed quite a few exclusive distribution contracts. Buying Origin House will allow Cresco Labs an easy path to distribution market share in the Golden State, as well as provide a means to place its in-house grown products in California dispensaries.
As for Cresco Labs' vertically integrated multi-state operations, it aims to have a presence in 11 states upon completion of the deal, with 23 active facilities, up to 1.5 million square feet of grow space, and licenses to operate up to 51 dispensaries. With an all-out escalation war occurring in the vertically integrated dispensary space, locking up substantial distribution market share in California, and gaining access to around 725 dispensaries throughout the U.S. (albeit mostly in California), could mark its path to greatness.
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