Ever since the cannabis craze hit Wall Street back in mid-2018, I’ve been pounding on the table saying that the best marijuana stock to buy in the group is Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC). The logic is simple: In addition to being the biggest player in the industry, CGC stock has long had one thing that no other cannabis company has — $4 billion in cash from Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ).
That $4 billion gives Canopy unprecedented visibility into being one of the industry’s long-term winners through early, aggressive, and large investments. As such, I have consistently reasoned that CGC stock belongs in every cannabis-related portfolio.
This bull thesis got a big boost in mid-April. Canopy struck a deal with major U.S. cannabis operator Acreage to buy that company for $3.4 billion once cannabis is legalized nationwide in the U.S.
For those who don’t follow this industry closely, that’s a big deal. Canopy is the star player in the legal Canadian cannabis market. But the Canadian market is peanuts. The big deal here is the U.S. market. Depending on who you ask, that market is about tenfold the size of the Canadian market.
Thus, the big question for Canopy and other Canadian pot stocks is whether or not these companies can replicate their success in the U.S.
Canopy just answered that question in emphatic fashion, and the market is reacting favorably. CGC stock popped roughly 10% on the news.
In the big picture, thanks to a $4 billion early investment from Constellation Brands, Canopy has given itself unprecedented visibility into being a long-term cannabis market leader. Right now, following the Acreage deal, that visibility is as strong as ever. Consequently, the long-term bull thesis for CGC is likewise as strong as ever.
The Acreage Acquisition Is Big News
There’s a reason CGC popped 10% in response to the company agreeing to acquire Acreage. In plain English, it positions the company to fully capitalize on the $100 billion U.S. cannabis market from the onset.
First, some context. The whole Wall Street cannabis craze has been largely centered around one thing: the nationwide legalization of cannabis in Canada in late 2018. Roughly speaking, that single catalyst turned the big four Canadian pot stocks — Canopy, Aurora (NYSE:ACB), Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON) — from relatively unknown companies to Wall Street household names with multi-billion dollar market caps.
But, while Canadian market legalization was the catalyst, it wasn’t the prize. The prize here is the U.S. market, which most estimates put at a $100 billion opportunity, versus $10 billion in Canada. The consensus thesis is that, with cannabis fully legal throughout Canada and hemp legal throughout the U.S., it’s only a matter of time before cannabis is fully legal across the entire U.S. The big question is whether or not Canadian cannabis giants like Canopy will be able to capitalize on the big U.S. opportunity when it comes knocking.
Canopy just answered that question. By agreeing to acquire Acreage — a major U.S. cannabis operator with dozens of dispensaries and cultivation sites across 20 states — Canopy has positioned itself to capitalize on the $100 billion U.S. cannabis market opportunity from the onset. That is, as soon as cannabis is fully legal across the U.S., Canopy will be everywhere through Acreage — and ready to dominate the U.S. market like it’s dominated the Canadian market.
That’s a big deal. Indeed, it paves the path for CGC to head materially higher in a long-term window.
Canopy Growth Stock Has Long-Term Upside
My long-term bull thesis on Canopy Growth stock is that, if this company can successfully maintain its leadership position as the cannabis industry goes global and matures, then this is a $100 billion company in the making. With more visibility than ever to U.S. market domination, that long-term bull thesis looks about as good as ever.
The details of my analysis behind the $100 billion number can be found here. But the short recap is pretty easy to understand. At scale, given current consumption trends, the recreational cannabis market could one day be as big as the alcoholic beverage and tobacco markets. What’s more, if you consider the medical opportunity, then the aggregate global cannabis market will easily one day be as big as, if not bigger than, the alcoholic beverage and tobacco markets.
The top dogs in those two industries have $100 billion-plus market caps. Witness Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) or Altira (NYSE:MO). Thus, it’s only reasonable to assume that the top dogs in the global cannabis industry at scale will be $100 billion-plus companies too.
Given its early leadership position, huge financial resources, aggressive management team, large growing capacity, and global distribution network, Canopy has all the tools necessary to turn into a top dog in the global cannabis industry in a decade. Now, Canopy also has visibility to be a top dog in the U.S. market. Thus, this company continues to take steps towards securing global leadership.
So long as the company remains on that path, CGC stock will remain on an uptrend towards a $100 billion valuation.
Bottom Line on CGC Stock
There are a lot of pot stocks out there, but none of them have as much long-term visibility as Canopy Growth. Given this, if you’re buying into the cannabis industry with a multi-year horizon, CGC stock is the best pick in the industry, without question.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long CGC and ACB.