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1 Top Cannabis Stock You Can Buy and Hold for the Next Decade

Joe Tenebruso, The Motley Fool

The cannabis industry is expanding at a torrid clip. Investment bank Cowen expects global cannabis sales to grow to $75 billion by 2030, while Bank of America analysts believe the marijuana market could one day generate $166 billion in annual sales.

One marijuana company, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) , is particularly well positioned to capture a substantial portion of the industry's profits in the coming decade. Read on to learn more about it.

A cannabis leaf on top of a U.S. hundred dollar bill

Image source: Getty Images.

Industry-leading scale

Aurora Cannabis' peak production capacity is unmatched. Aurora is on track to produce more than 625,000 kilograms of cannabis annually by 2020. Among rival producers , only Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) appears to be on track to produce at least 500,000 kilograms during this time.

Aurora's superior production capacity should provide it with powerful scale advantages over its smaller competitors. By spreading its costs over a larger sales base, Aurora should be able to produce industry-leading profit margins over time.

Moreover, being a low-cost producer should help Aurora weather any near-term oversupply issues should its home market of Canada become saturated. If an industry shakeout occurs, Aurora is likely to be one of the last cannabis producers standing.

A strong international presence

In addition to peak production potential, Aurora Cannabis also leads the industry in terms of its operational presence in markets outside Canada . Aurora has a presence in 25 countries. Its closest competitor, Canopy Growth, has operations in only 16 countries.

A person pointing to a digital map of the world

Aurora Cannabis' geographic footprint is unrivaled among marijuana producers. Image source: Getty Images.

As such, Aurora has a leg up on the competition when it comes to grabbing global market share, particularly in the medical marijuana market, which is an area of focus for the company. That's important, as the international cannabis market is projected to become multiple times larger than that of Canada in the years ahead.

Independence equals greater potential for long-term gains

Aurora is also the most likely of the major cannabis producers to remain independent. Unlike peers Canopy Growth and Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON) , which sold equity stakes in their businesses to Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) and Altria (NYSE: MO) for $4 billion and $1.8 billion , respectively, Aurora has so far resisted selling a sizable equity stake to a larger company.

Constellation Brands and Altria hold warrants that give them the right to increase their ownership stakes in Canopy Growth and Cronos Group in the future, and many investors expect the beer giant and tobacco titan to eventually purchase all of these cannabis producers' remaining shares. Aurora, however, appears poised to remain independent.

Should Canopy Growth and Cronos Group be acquired, investors would likely enjoy sizable gains from today's prices. But for investors seeking to profit from the entirety of the cannabis industry's explosive growth over the next decade, Aurora Cannabis is the stock to buy.

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Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Constellation Brands. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .