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It's obvious why cannabis investing is so popular right now.
According to Grand View Research, the global legal cannabis market is expected to be worth $66.3 billion by 2025. That's nearly five times what it was in 2018.
That's a veritable gold mine for investors who choose their weed stocks wisely.
But there's one problem.
All that wealth is not going to get distributed evenly among cannabis companies. A lot of them are going to go bust while others reap fortunes. And there's going to be a lot of volatility as the chips fall where they may.
That's why the pick-and-shovel stock to buy we're bringing you today is the best of all worlds.
Strictly speaking, this pick isn't a cannabis company. But it provides essential products and services to the cannabis industry.
It's a company that has already established itself in a number of important sectors, including biotechnology, food safety, and genomics. It has a market cap of nearly $10 billion, so it's not subject to the kind of volatility young pot stocks often face.
It's also one of the few firms capable of making absolutely certain that cannabis products pass legal regulations.
So as the legal cannabis industry explodes over the next six years, this company is going to be right in the middle of it - no matter which weed brands come out on top.
That's why this pick is one of the best cannabis stocks to buy now.
Even better, it just got a top score from our Money Morning Stock VQScore™ system.
So it won't be available at its current price for long.
Burdensome Regulations Are a Piece of Cake for This Cannabis Stock to Buy Now
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PerkinElmer Inc. (NYSE: PKI) got its start in 1937 designing optical lenses. In the eight decades since, it has become a pre-eminent provider of products and services for diagnostics, testing, and other laboratory processes.
The company has been instrumental, for example, in screening expectant mothers for preeclampsia. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney dysfunction, fluid in the lungs, seizures, and other complications for both mother and child.
Traditionally, preeclampsia couldn't be detected until late in pregnancy when it was already difficult to treat. But thanks to PerkinElmer, expectant mothers can now be screened as early as the first trimester. When detected early on, the disease can often be treated effectively with simple aspirin.
That's a true productivity boost: the ability to do more with less. And that's why PerkinElmer's services are so valuable across the various sectors it serves.
Food safety is another area where PerkinElmer technology is saving lives - even if you never notice it.
The company estimates that more than a quarter of all global food crops are contaminated with mycotoxins - infectious fungal byproducts that frequently colonize crops. Quality or safety issues lead to the waste of more than 220 pounds per year per person. And food fraud - tampering with either labels or the food itself in the supply chain - costs the industry $30 billion to $40 billion each year.
These issues are only becoming more critical as an estimated 60% more food will be needed to feed the world's population in 2050.
PerkinElmer products are designed to combat all these problems effectively.
The company offers technology to detect food fraud in 30 seconds or less. A single QSight machine from PerkinElmer can detect 60 separate pesticides deemed unsafe by government entities. And the company's instruments can also inspect the quality and safety of 220 million tons of wheat every year - about 30% of global production.
In other words, PerkinElmer is one of those rare companies that we simply can't live without.
But as important as that is, perhaps the most exciting growth segment for the company is its entrance into the legal cannabis market.
The same precision testing capabilities that have made PerkinElmer a valuable resource in the food industry have also made it one of the few firms the cannabis industry can rely on.
A key part of legalization in Canada and the United States has been regulation. Lawmakers want to make sure consumers know exactly what they're getting - and that the product is safe.
Between government scrutiny and fierce competitors in the market, growers and distributors can't afford to take regulatory compliance lightly.
So PerkinElmer's 82 years of expertise has been a life saver for those companies. A single turnkey system can detect and quantify every one of the 65 pesticides regulated by California, or the 95 regulated by Canada. Plus it can detect any foreign contaminant, including inorganic materials like metals.
That way the cannabis producer knows its product is 100% up to snuff before it hits the market.
Best of all, you can buy this stock at a significant discount if you move right now.
Now Is the Time to Buy PKI
Over the last two years, PerkinElmer shares are up 23.5%. But the stock has slipped recently and now sits 11.5% below where it was 12 months ago.
Don't be fooled, though. That comes even as net income for 2018 was up 51% from the year before.
According to FactSet, PKI's earnings per share is projected to grow by double-digit percentages every year through 2022.
Given its performance and its growth prospects, its dip in share price is a great opportunity to grab it for cheap.
And as cannabis providers fight each other for territory in the coming years, you can relax knowing that PerkinElmer will come out on top no matter how those battles play out.
About the Author
Stephen Mack has been writing about economics and finance since 2011. He contributed material for the best-selling books Aftershock and The Aftershock Investor. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.