There’s no sugarcoating the truth here. It has been an awful few weeks for pot stocks, particularly the cannabis market leader, Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC). At the end of April, CGC stock was flying high above $50 – up 90% year-to-date, as investors were getting excited about Canopy’s potential entry into the what-will-be-huge U.S. cannabis market. Two bad earnings reports later, the stock has come crashing down.
Today, CGC stock trades hands below $30 – nearly 50% off its late April highs, and up just 5% year-to-date, versus a 90% year-to-date gain back in April.
If that’s not a crash, I don’t know what is. Indeed, the crash has been so bad that some bulls have thrown in the towel.
I get it. Stomaching a 50% crash over four months is not an easy thing to do. It does leave one feeling somewhat hopeless, dejected, and unwilling to double down.
But, that’s exactly what I’m doing here — doubling down. Investors have to see the forest for the trees here. All this near-term volatility is just noise. Who really cares if Canopy grew sales by 200% or 250% last quarter? Or if gross margins were 20% or 25%? All that really matters is that Canopy continues to position itself as the profitable leader in what will one day be a multi-hundred billion dollar global cannabis market.
Canopy is doing just that, and because they are, there is still visibility for Canopy to one day be a $50 to 100 billion company. CGC stock has a market cap of under $10 billion today. Thus, the long-term investment implication is simple: buy on weakness and hold for the long haul.
Early Innings for Pot’s Global Growth
When it comes to CGC stock, investors need to see the big picture here and if they don’t want to do that, they probably shouldn’t even be looking at the cannabis space at all.
The big picture here is that you have a cannabis industry that is in the top of the first inning of a multi-year, global growth narrative. Only one major developed economy has fully legalized cannabis (Canada), where it has been fully legal for less than a year, and that economy is considered one of the smaller fish in the global market. Judging the long-term fate of a cannabis company because they missed sales or earnings estimates last quarter seems … foolish.
Doing so would be focusing on a tree. Instead, investors need to take a step back, and look at the forest. Here’s what the cannabis forest looks like. There is an overwhelming amount of data out there which implies that cannabis consumption is: on a secular uptrend; nearly as pervasive as alcohol and tobacco consumption; and, in many instances, preferred to alcohol consumption among younger consumers.
At the same time, governments around the world are becoming open to consideration of cannabis as a “safe drug” and are gradually progressing toward full legalization. Combining those two observations, the implication is clear: the global cannabis market will be fully legal one day, and when that happens, it will be huge — like global alcohol and tobacco markets huge.
Canopy Growth Stock Still Projects as a Long-Term Winner
The global alcohol and tobacco markets are several hundred billion dollar to trillion dollar markets. The cannabis market will be that big one day.
Each of those markets has also produced several $50 billion to $100 billion-plus companies. See Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD), Diageo (NYSE:DEO), or Heineken (OTCQX:HEINY) in the alcohol world. See Altria (NYSE:MO) and Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) in the tobacco world.
The cannabis market will similarly produce several $50 to $100 billion-plus companies at scale. Canopy Growth will be one of them.
Even the company’s former CEO, Bruce Linton, unceremoniously booted out last month as Canopy’s co-CEO and board chair, told BNN Bloomberg he was a buyer of CGC stock after the shares fell on August 15.
Right now, Canopy is the biggest cannabis company in the fully legal Canadian market. It also has the largest balance sheet, with the most cash firepower to increase production capacity, expand global distribution, penetrate other cannabis markets, and invest in next-gen product R&D — overall, sustaining and expanding its leadership position.
Canopy is doing all of those things. The company’s harvest amounted to more than 40,000 kilograms last quarter — no one else in this space even comes close to touching that number. Canopy has a deal to acquire Acreage once the U.S. market becomes fully legal, giving the company a clear pathway to penetrating the U.S. market. They also poured over C$8 billion into R&D last quarter. Competitor Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) spent less than $2 billion CAD ($1.5 billion) on R&D in the overlapping quarter.
In other words, Canopy is doing everything it needs to do in order to be the Anheuser-Bush or Altria of the cannabis world. Big picture, that means CGC stock remains on track to have a $50 billion to $100 billion-plus market cap one day. The market cap today? Under $10 billion. For long-term investors who are willing to ride out the volatility, the implication is clear: buy on weakness and hold for the long haul.
Bottom Line on CGC Stock
When it comes to CGC stock, investors need to see the forest for the trees.
True, it has a caretaker CEO after Linton fell out with shareholder Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), but there are indications that Canopy is looking at candidates from the consumer, pharmaceutical, alcohol and even technology sectors, according to BNN Bloomberg.
But put that aside for a minute. As well, forget today’s depressed gross margins. They are depressed because Canopy is spending an arm and a leg to lay the foundation for long-term growth. Forget today’s slowing growth trends. Growth is slowing because Canopy is more focused on maximizing long-term growth, not supercharging near-term improvements.
Instead, understand that Canopy is laying the groundwork to become a $50 billion to $100 billion-plus company one day.
I get that it’s tough to do that on the heels of a 50% sell-off over the past four months. But, CGC stock is still up 5% since January 2019, 20% since January 2018, and 300% since January 2017. So, again, the best thing here is to zoom out and contextualize everything.
When you do that, it becomes clear that Canopy is still a winning company, and that CGC stock still has tremendous long term potential.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long CGC.
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