Making the Grade

U.S. Marijuana Companies Ranked by Number of Dispensaries

In October 2018, Canada legalized adult-use nationwide.

This was a historic moment, as it was the first G-7 country to do so.

Because of cannabis’s free and legal status in Canada, companies that operate there aren’t stunted by federal restrictions.

They can expand coast to coast. And maple leaf Mary Jane can float across the country.

In the U.S., it’s a different experience altogether for companies and consumers.

This has led to the rise of a uniquely American type of cannabis company – the multistate operator (MSO).

MSOs are battling it out for what will ultimately be an $80 billion legal U.S. market. That’s several times the size of Canada’s.

(Don’t forget, California alone is more populous than our neighbor to the north.)

But the major hurdle is that pot is still illegal at the federal level in the U.S.

That’s despite the fact that the majority of the country’s 50 states have legalized weed in some form or another…

Map of US cannabis legalization

That means more than 60% of Americans live in a state where cannabis is legal.

Not to mention, there are multiple states on the edge of legalization – like Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and more. So we’ll soon see more join the new green revolution.

Eventually, I think the feds will have to change their tune.

But until then, MSOs have to set up operations in each state individually.

Each state has its own market and its own unique set of rules. And some states are far more lucrative than others.

But in this fast-paced environment, no one wants to be on the outside looking in.

So for those companies looking to dominate the American market, they must tackle it one state at a time.

That’s why, this week, my team and I looked at MSOs and their footprints in the U.S.

We broke it down into two different views.

First, here are the top publicly traded MSOs ranked by number of dispensaries…

Top 10 MSOs by Dispensary Totals

Right off the bat, you’ll notice this isn’t like traditional retail. There aren’t thousands – let alone hundreds – of locations.

This is a nascent industry.

With 44 locations, Curaleaf Holdings (OTC: CURLF) has the most dispensaries of any MSO.

The company has been on an expansion tear, acquiring Cura Partners at the beginning of May for $948 million – the largest deal in the U.S. pot stock history.

It also opened its 24th dispensary in Florida at the end of April, making it one of the largest operators in the state. As I’ve covered before, Florida is a surging state for medical marijuana.

MedMen Enterprises (OTC: MMNFF) is the second-largest MSO with 33 dispensaries. That was after its acquisition of PharmaCann last year, which at the time was record-setting.

MedMen’s main moneymaker is California, where it has 11 booming retail locations.

The company sees the Golden State as an $11 billion opportunity.

Then we have Harvest Health & Recreation (OTC: HRVSF). The MSO catapulted to the No. 3 spot with its $850 million acquisition of Verano in March.

We also see a number of companies in that top 10 that we’ve covered here and have been on their own buying sprees this past year.

But just because an MSO has the largest number of dispensaries, it doesn’t mean it has the biggest geographic footprint.

So here are the top 10 MSOs by the number of states they operate in…

Top 10 MSOs by Geographic Footprint

Case in point, Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRGF) was No. 5 in terms of dispensaries. But it’s the top dog when it comes to being spread out. The MSO is in 20 states.

This is one of the reasons the Canadian producer Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) finds Acreage so attractive. And it’s why the MSO will be acquired by Canopy for $3.4 billion when the U.S. legalizes cannabis at the federal level.

Then there’s Harvest Health at 16 states. This is followed by Curaleaf, MedMen and Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF) at a dozen each.

But what’s important to note is that Trulieve Cannabis (OTC: TCNNF) was No. 4 in terms of dispensaries but is near the bottom in its geographic footprint.

It’s taking the stronghold approach.

Of Trulieve’s 28 dispensaries, 27 are located in Florida. It has one in California and is planning for one in Massachusetts.

Liberty Health Sciences (OTC: LHSIF) is also dedicated solely to Florida. Meanwhile Planet 13 Holdings (OTC: PLNHF) is all-in on Nevada and the Las Vegas Strip.

It goes to show not all cannabis companies are the same.

And even the various American MSOs aren’t equal.

These vertically integrated pot stocks have their own unique plans to divide and conquer. Some are taking a scattershot approach, while others are fortifying ramparts at a single location.

This is what investors need to look at and understand when they’re buying cannabis shares.

And it’s one more reason now is one of the most exciting times in the marijuana industry. Especially for U.S. pot stocks.

Here’s to high returns,

Matthew