The first step to making money by investing in stocks is to keep the money you already have. That's particularly true when it comes to the marijuana sector, where -- regrettably -- there's an abundance of bad options from which to choose.

Thankfully, the cannabis industry is maturing, but there are already a few common traits among the weakest performers. Aside from general red flags like indebtedness and unprofitability, be sure to pay attention to these three calling cards for cannabis stocks that'll hurt your portfolio's value.

When cannabis businesses work to get bigger, it's obvious that they need to have enough marijuana to meet demand. But one of the industry's most common stumbling points is to anticipate more demand than actually exists in the market. 

Time and time again, companies have made massive investments in greenhouses or other cultivation facilities to increase production capacity in anticipation of revenue that never seems to materialize. Then, when the overhead costs become too great a drag on the bottom line for too long, management dolefully announces that the extra capacity needs to be turned off, like when Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ:ACB) closed one of its facilities and reduced the output of another by 75% late last year. 

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