During gold rushes of the past, the vendors selling picks and shovels often made more money than the gold miners did themselves. It’s a similar story with the cannabis industry. Companies that provide critical products and services to cannabis operators can sometimes generate higher profits than pure-play cannabis companies. In this Fool Live video, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and longtime Motley Fool contributor Keith Speights discuss a fantastic pick-and-shovel marijuana stock to buy right now: Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR).
Corinne Cardina: Let’s dive into some pick-and-shovel stocks, ancillary stocks. These companies get either some or most of their revenue from the cannabis industry, but their core operations are not in growing and selling marijuana. A lot of times, that can insulate them from potential regulatory risk. It diversifies their business.
These are very interesting. The first one is heavily dependent on the cannabis market, but certainly not a grower or a seller. It is a REIT stock, a real estate investment trust. It is called Innovative Industrial Properties. Keith, what can you tell us about IIPR?
Keith Speights: Sure. This company, as you mentioned, it’s a real estate investment trust. They focus on medical cannabis properties. What IIP does is they will go to a medical cannabis operator, buy their property from them, and then lease it back to them — just turn around and immediately lease it back to them over a long-term lease.
I think their average remaining weighted average lease term is around 16 years. So if you’re talking about good, solid recurring revenue coming in and then, what I say Corrine, is they just rinse and repeat. They do it again and they do it again, and they just keep on adding these properties and getting that recurring revenue coming in.
This company has grown tremendously over the last few years. They trade on the New York Stock Exchange. They’re not in violation of any federal laws, so they can do that. That gives them access to the investor market so they can raise cash to then fuel into funding, buying more properties.
They pay a dividend, which all REITs have to return at least 90 percent of their taxable income back to shareholders in the form of dividends. They have an outstanding dividend that’s grown tremendously over the last few years. This is really one of my favorite stocks in the industry because it’s just solid; it has a clear path to growth.
In fact, I wrote an article a few weeks ago and basically, I was trying to think, “What’s the one dividend stock most likely to double in the next two or three years?” Innovative Industrial Properties was it.
Corinne Cardina: That is a great point. This company has really benefited from a problem in the industry. We’ve talked about how American cannabis companies that operate in the US, they lack access to banking and financing services. So that’s where IIP comes in. It buys their property, which gives the cannabis operator an injection of cash so they can sustain or grow because they can’t just go get a loan from the bank like a burger company might be able to.
Keith Speights: Right. Even if that changed, I still think the market would be pretty good for Innovative Industrial Properties because even in other industries, a lot of companies see value in not owning their property and leasing it instead, and so I think the REIT market in the cannabis space will still be strong even if access to banking becomes easier for cannabis operators.
Corinne Cardina: That’s very good to know.
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