Few sectors have captured the imagination of investors better than the marijuana industry.
It’s easy to see why. We all know numerous people who consume marijuana on a regular basis. These folks are more likely than ever to be open about it, since the stigma surrounding the drug has really diminished. Legalization definitely helped this as well.
Medical marijuana is also a promising sector. Millions of patients are successfully using cannabis as part of a pain-management program, which is a much better choice than harsh opioids. Epileptics are also reporting widespread success using pot as part of their treatment programs, too. We’ve likely just scratched the surface of the health benefits of marijuana, although there are risks associated with long-term use.
The recreational market could get much bigger, too. The Canadian government is set to legalize marijuana edibles, beverages, topicals, and extracts in mid-December. This could potentially add millions of regular cannabis users, as many people are curious about it yet aren’t keen on smoking the drug.
Add all this together, and we get massive potential for marijuana producers like Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB)(NYSE:ACB). To see just how much investors could profit, let’s take a look at the last five years of results.
A heck of a ride
In 2014, Aurora was essentially a startup consisting of a few employees and a dream. Remember, it didn’t actually generate any revenue until 2016.
Investors would have been immensely rewarded for believing in this company. Back on July 4, 2014, Aurora Cannabis shares were worth a mere $0.265 each trading on the TSX Venture Exchange. The stock wouldn’t graduate to the TSX until more than two years later.
These days one Aurora share will set you back $9.97. That gives us a total return of 3,662%.
Needless to say, that’s the kind of result that can really make or break a portfolio.
Or, to put it another way, a $10,000 investment in Aurora made back in 2014 would be worth a little over $376,000 today.
This is much better than a similar investment made in Canopy Growth. As I’ve highlighted before, $10,000 invested in Canopy five years ago would be worth a hair under $200,000.
Aurora’s performance is even more impressive if you look at its annual compound growth rate. To go up 3,662% in five years means Aurora’s stock went up more than 106% annually. And it maintained this for five years.
Assuming you grew your portfolio at a 10% annual return, it would take approximately 38 years to grow $10,000 into $376,000. Aurora Cannabis investors did it in just five years.
Unfortunately for bullish investors, it’s virtually impossible for Aurora to replicate that kind of growth over the next five years. It just isn’t going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean shares still can’t double, triple, or even more. The company is rapidly bringing more production online. It’s expanding around the world. And it’s working on numerous clinical trials — tests that could lead to major breakthroughs.
In other words, there’s still plenty of potential there.
Like its peers, Aurora is ready and waiting to expand into the U.S. market. With nationwide marijuana legalization, there is a massive opportunity. The U.S. market will be multiples bigger than the Canadian market.
The bottom line? This growth story is nowhere close to being over. It still has the potential to deliver great returns — even if they’re not quite as good as the last five years.
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Fool contributor Nelson Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.