If you want to earn some extra dough, now may be the ideal time to invest in cannabis. And no, we don’t mean buying edibles in bulk.
2020 was a record year for cannabis. According to Leafly, the legal industry saw over $18 billion in sales – a 71% increase from the year prior.
Meanwhile, the number of states legalizing cannabis is growing every year. Sixteen total states have legalized recreational cannabis (three of which went legal just this year), and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana.
With more states legalizing cannabis, the cannabis industry has become increasingly accepted. And the more the industry is accepted, the faster it grows. It’s why every celebrity seems to have their own CBD brand these days, and there’s a cannabis product for pretty much any market segment (even grandmas).
But you don’t have to be a cannabis entrepreneur to jump on this bandwagon. You can invest in cannabis stocks. And, as you can probably imagine, that decision could yield some dank rewards.
We spoke with Jon Decourcey, Equity Research Analyst at Viridian Capital Advisors, a cannabis capital advisory firm (yes, that’s a thing) on why investors should consider the cannabis industry, and what cannabis stocks have the most growth potential between now and 2024.
According to Decourcey, there’s never been a better time for American investors to invest in the cannabis industry. The reason? Put simply, it’s about to go boom.
“Cannabis is a complete greenfield growth opportunity in the U.S.,” Decourcey said. “For all intents and purposes, the industry didn’t exist a few years ago. Now, it’s become very prevalent in states where it’s legal, and we know it will grow as new states legalize cannabis. Think of Texas – its population is about two times the population of Canada, and there are only a handful of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. There’s a huge opportunity there.”
Decourcey said the pandemic had a lot to do with making cannabis the hot commodity it is today.
“Cannabis was deemed an essential product at the onset of COVID-19,” Decourcey said. “That helped the cannabis industry a lot. Then, cannabis presented the potential for being a kind of white knight for state governments – a way to help them get over the economic challenges of 2020 – because of the tax opportunity. It’s a gold mine for government entities in general.”
Here are the top four cannabis businesses Decourcey recommends investing in now. Bear in mind that any investment you make should align with your personal financial goals and risk tolerance.
1. Ayr Wellness (AYR.A)
One of the most popular recreational cannabis brands in the U.S., Ayr Wellness is a multi-state operator that just opened its 50th cannabis dispensary. The company has plans to get that number to 60 by the end of 2021.
Over the past year, Ayr Wellness stock has gone up over 360%. Decourcey says they’ve “done a good job building a sustainable business and as they expand into additional states.”
2. Lowell Farms (LOWL)
Formerly Indus Holdings Inc., Lowell Farms is a leading recreational cannabis brand in California. The company bought Lowell Herb Co. earlier this year.
“Lowell Farms is really scaling operations in California, which is the biggest market for cannabis,” Decourcey said. “They bought another leading brand in the state this year and are poised for a lot of expansion in the near future.”
3. Gage (GAGE)
Based in Michigan, Gage Cannabis is the new brainchild of the co-founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis company that was recently valued at over $18 billion. Decourcey says Gage is aiming to consolidate Michigan’s fragmented cannabis market.
“Michigan doesn’t have a lot of large cannabis businesses, even though it’s one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets. Gage is trying to be the big fish in that pond–they want to be a large public player there and are expected to significantly scale their operations.”
4. Planet 13 (PLTH)
If you’re looking to invest in something a little off the beaten path, Planet 13 might be more your speed. This massive recreational cannabis dispensary is set in the heart of Las Vegas, and its tourist appeal usually makes it a huge money maker. That wasn’t so much the case during the pandemic, but Decourcey still sees a lot of potential in this stoner landmark.
“They raised a lot of money this past year. And since they’re usually a huge cash cow and things are opening back up, they are really poised for expansion this coming year,” Decourcey said. “These guys have delivered on everything they said they were going to do. I could see a world where they are much bigger in two years or so, as far as expanding into other states.”
Since the cannabis market is so new, Decourcey said he recommends taking advantage of the growth potential and lower stock prices of smaller companies at this stage.
“Multi-state operators are the biggest guys in the space, but I don’t think they’re the most interesting right now. They don’t have that much growth ahead of them and they already have investor awareness,” Decourcey said. “You have higher growth potential on businesses that are smaller – there is less overhead, there’s still potential for them to grow to other states, and the investor base is likely small.”
Though new, cannabis companies have come a long way since they first started going public in 2017. Because cannabis is not legal on the federal level, the challenges of the market and the lack of traditional banking made it so almost none of the first cannabis companies that went public delivered on what they promised in their IPOs (initial public offerings.) Decourcey says the ones that survived learned from their prior mistakes and are better because of it.
“You’re looking at an industry a couple years past the initial IPO process. These are no longer paper stories, these are companies that are actually ready to capitalize on growth opportunities. These guys have righted the ship and they operate really well now.”
However, if you still have hesitations regarding the risks of investing in cannabis, you can always start by investing in a cannabis mutual fund. A cannabis mutual fund will spread out the risk of investment and they will favor smart, well-run companies.
Like with anything, Decourcey says it’s critical to use common sense when investing in cannabis.
“In cannabis, the thing to remember is that if it sounds too good, it probably is. These are still very early stakes companies, and their pitches are often theoretical. Try to find real investments with traditional approaches and a record of delivering on what they promise.”
Elissa Esher is Assistant Editor at GreenState. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Guardian, Brooklyn Paper, Religion Unplugged, and Iridescent Women. Send inquiries and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.