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Growing up during the anti-drug hysteria of the Reagan era, the Just Say No mantra was firmly planted in my psych. It wasnt just the hard drugs that were vilified, but even the mild counter-cultural favorite of cannabis was believed to be destructive. Thought of as a gateway drug to life-ruining addiction, severe prison penalties were imposed for its use, possession, and sale.

Despite the aggressive anti-drug publicity campaign, William Buckley, the voice of noted conservatives, and others cried out for decriminalization of most recreational drugs. Even though I am not a recreational weed smoker, their rhetoric made sense to me. I started to see through the draconian national drug policy thus understanding the need for decriminalization.

As it turns out, Buckley and the rest of the early decriminalization advocates were way ahead of the curve. Today, the once evil substance of cannabis is legal in about a dozen states and decriminalized in more. Not only does legal marijuana boast many health benefits, but it has also turned into a very lucrative industry both nationally and globally.

In fact, cannabis is among the hottest growth stories of the 21st century. In 2013, cannabis was available via medical use only and was just around a $3 billion business. The figures from 2017 show aggressive growth to $9.5 billion. Out of this $9.5 billion, the United States accounts for 90%, while Canada boasts a $0.6 billion share, and the rest of the world makes up the other 4%.

While the growth has been outstanding, what has me most bullish on the industry is the future projections. In the next six years, the U.S. cannabis market is forecast to hit approximately $23 billion representing nearly 75% of the global market size.

Billions of dollars are pouring into this hyper-growth story. The good news is that regular stock investors can participate in the profits.

Since it is such a nascent industry, many of the traded companies are still pre-revenue and traded OTC. In fact, just 11 firms traded in U.S. dollars in the cannabis space.

This article will provide my three top cannabis-related stocks that are currently producing revenue.

1. Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR )

This cannabis-focused real estate firms share price has soared over 130% in the last 52 weeks with a 45% gain this year alone.

Innovative is aptly named thanks to its genuinely unique strategy within the industry. The company targets medical-use cannabis properties for acquisition, including sale-leaseback transactions, with tenants that are licensed growers under long-term, triple-net leases. The company calls itself a creative capital provider of the long-term ownership of cultivators mission-critical facilities.

Structured as a real estate investment trust (REIT), the company is required to give back 90% of its pre-tax income to its shareholders via dividends. Currently, Innovative is paying 3% TTM yield.

The third quarter reflected the firms growth trajectory with total revenues of approximately $3.9 million in the quarter, representing an increase of more than 150% from the prior year.

Net income also soared to $1.5 million for the quarter, or $0.21 per diluted share, and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) of approximately $2.6 million, or $0.38 per diluted share. AFFO for the quarter represented an increase of more than 250% from the prior year.

Income investors are pleased with Innovative paying its sixth consecutive quarterly dividend of $0.35 per share on Oct. 15, 2018, to stockholders of record as of Sept. 28, 2018, representing a 40% increase over the companys second quarter 2018 dividend.

Getting long now in the $45.00 per share zone with a target price of $70.00 per share and initial stops set at $38.72 is the play.

Innovative is currently my favorite name in the cannabis space.

2. Tilray (Nasdaq: TLRY )

This Canadian company traded on the Nasdaq boasts around $8 million in quarterly revenue. The company is more directly involved with cannabis than the REIT above. It is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production, and distribution of medical cannabis and cannabinoids.

Although the company posted a net loss for the last quarter, the significant metrics are looking solid as revenue increased to $10.0(C$12.9) million, up 85.8% compared to the third quarter of last year. The increase in revenue was driven by increased patient demand, bulk sales to other licensed producers, and accelerated wholesale distribution in export markets.

I like buying this one in the $102.00 per share zone with a $125.00 per share target and initial stops at $94.92 per share.

3. CV Sciences, Inc. ( CVSI )

A synthetic cannabidiol ( CBD ) life science company whose shares have soared over 1600% during the last 52 weeks.

The company operates two distinct business segments: a drug development division focused on developing and commercializing novel therapeutics utilizing synthetic CBD, and a consumer product division in manufacturing, marketing and selling plant-based CBD products to a range of market sectors. CV Sciences has primary offices and facilities in San Diego, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sales, gross profit, net income, EBITDA, retail channel distribution all hit record numbers in the third quarter.

The companys pipeline and innovative nature create a strong case for its long-term viability as an investment.

Shares have pulled back to support in the $4.00 area, creating an ideal buy opportunity. Suggest getting long now with a $12.00 target price and a $2.93 initial stop loss.

Risks To Consider : Cannabis is a very new legal industry. It is highly tied to regulations and government actions so much uncertainty remains. Remember, while legal on a state-by-state basis, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. The greater risk exists, as well as reward than in most other sectors .

Action To Take : Consider adding one or more of the above stocks to your portfolio.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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