In case you haven’t been paying attention, the marijuana industry has been the buzz on Wall Street for more than two years, and for very good reason. With Canada lifting the curtain on nine decades of recreational prohibition, and more than 40 countries worldwide waving the green flag on medical cannabis, the red carpet is being rolled out for the legal cannabis movement. The massive marijuana industry that’s existed in the black market for decades is steadily moving into the legal landscape, providing an opportunity for investors to make bank.
Of course, it could be argued that the boat has sailed on the largest pot stocks, many of which have delivered…
quadruple-digit percentage gains over the past three-plus years. That leaves small-cap pot stocks with a market cap of $250 million to $2 billion as potentially the most intriguing long-term plays for marijuana investors.
After screening more than four dozen pot stocks, most of which are small caps, the following five look to deliver the strongest per-share profits in 2020, according to Wall Street’s current consensus estimate.
Innovative Industrial Properties
When it comes to profitable pot stocks, none delivers the green quite like cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR). This is a company that acquires land for cultivation and processing facilities, then leases it out for extended periods of time. In addition, Innovative Industrial tacks on 3.25% annual rental increases, as well as a 1.5% management fee, which helps add some organic growth icing to its cake.
Currently, IIP, as the company is also known, has 19 properties in its portfolio across 11 states, including six that were purchased in California just since the beginning of the year. Because this is a relatively low-cost model, it doesn’t need much in the way of rental revenue to generate substantial profits. For instance, adjusted funds from operations, which is the measure responsible for determining IIP’s quarterly dividend, grew by 275% to $0.54 per diluted share in the first quarter from the prior-year period despite only $6.6 million in rental revenue in Q1. This is how Innovative Industrial has been able to triple its payout in just two years.
Next year, Wall Street’s lone estimate is for $3.21 per share in earnings, making it the only pure-play pot stock on track for more than $1 in EPS. Then again, its low share count does play a role in its relatively high EPS potential.
Vertically integrated dispensary operator Trulieve Cannabis (NASDAQOTH:TCNNF) is also expected to be quite profitable in 2020, based on Wall Street’s consensus, with $0.82 per share in full-year earnings expected. Taking into account Trulieve’s almost 110 million shares, this works out to an expected profit of $90 million.
Although most U.S.-focused dispensary operators have pushed into multiple states, and Trulieve is no exception given its recent acquisitions in Massachusetts and California, this is a company that’s ingrained in the Florida market. Trulieve somewhat recently opened its 27th dispensary in the Sunshine State and hopes to continue reaping the rewards of a generally older population that could benefit from medical cannabis products. It’s also worth mentioning that Florida removed a ban on smokable cannabis two months ago, which may help improve foot traffic to statewide dispensaries and further boost sales.
If Trulieve Cannabis’ 2018 is any indication of where it’s headed, it should have little trouble generating $90 million in profit next year. In 2018, the company generated a $38 million operating profit on $102 million in sales, and this was without the help of fair-value adjustments on biological assets…
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