Better Cannabis Stock: Cresco Labs vs. Harvest Health & Recreation

The rise of legal U.S. cannabis is one of the most promising growth trends in the market today. Over two-thirds of Americans now believe cannabis use should be legalized. In the recent November election, pro-cannabis ballot measures won five out of five state elections…

Unsurprisingly, U.S.-based cannabis stocks rose, though their companies still operate under a cloud of federal prohibition. Still, the best-run players should still have tailwinds well into the future, as more regulations are rolled back.

Two promising U.S. cannabis operators are Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF), one of the larger U.S. MSOs today, as well as the smaller Harvest Health and Recreation (OTC:HRVSF). Which of these two cannabis upstarts is the better way to play this “high” growth market?

The current asset base

The first criterion to understand about each U.S. cannabis company is the location of its respective assets. Each state is its own closed ecosystem since it’s illegal to transport cannabis across state lines. Each state also has its own licensing regulations. Knowing where each company has set up shop is crucial. The retail breakdown for each company looks like this:

Company

(Dispensaries)

Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) Harvest Health & Recreation (OTC:HRVSF)
Arizona 1 15
California 0 4
Florida 0 6
Illinois 10 0
Maryland 0 3
Massachusetts 1 0
North Dakota 0 2
New York 4 0
Ohio 1 0
Pennsylvania 4 8

DATA SOURCE: COMPANY WEBSITES AND FILINGS. CHART BY AUTHOR.

As you can see, Cresco has established 21 retail stores across six states, with a big concentration in Illinois. Harvest has 38, with a focus in Arizona.

However, these retail numbers don’t tell the whole story. Cresco has concentrated most of its efforts on…

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