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Leading Gage Cannabis Co.
"Partnering with best-in-class brands in order to elevate the Gage brand has been one of our main strategies"
Welcome to Four PM — a daily newsletter that delivers cannabis industry analysis, interviews with industry leaders, and all of the latest news.
In 2017 Gage Cannabis Co was founded — in the time since they have become one of the leading cannabis companies in the United States.
The leadership team at Gage has taken a very unique approach to succeeding in the cannabis industry where they focus on producing high-quality cannabis and partner with established cannabis brands from outside of Michigan.
With exclusive partnerships in place with companies like Cookies, Slang Worldwide, and Blue River — Gage has made some fantastic partnerships.
For today’s edition of Four PM, we sat down with Fabian Monaco, CEO of Gage Cannabis Co to learn about his journey into the cannabis industry, the trends he is paying closest attention to today, and much more.
Fabian Monaco is a former Director for XIB Financial and is currently the CEO of Gage Cannabis Co.
What was the insight that led you to join the cannabis industry?
Before cannabis, I was an investment banker working in the healthcare space.
I was in Canada at the time when the Canadian government introduced the legislation for cannabis to be legalized, and it just so happened to be that my group took on the cannabis sector.
We were lucky enough to work on a lot of firsts in the cannabis industry at the time, having taken part in the very first acquisition, the first cannabis IPO, and then the first hundred million dollar financing in the space.
I was blessed with these opportunities and I never really looked back even though around this time some of my friends were almost snickering at the fact that we were focusing on the cannabis industry, however, as the amount of capital coming into cannabis started to ramp up — this quickly changed.
Are there any particular trends that you’re paying close attention to today in the cannabis industry?
The biggest trend I’m watching closely is the rise of the U.S cannabis industry which is growing at a staggering pace even though the industry remains constrained in so many different ways.
At the center of this is cannabis being illegal at a federal level, which creates a lot of issues such as the ability for U.S cannabis companies to list on U.S stock exchanges which would drive down the cost of capital which is something every cannabis company in the U.S would benefit from.
In my humble opinion, Canada's really fallen off the map when it comes to cannabis — they had a great head start at becoming the global leaders in the industry, but now the U.S is taking over — and I say this as a Canadian.
Is this the regulations Canada has adopted or is it simply the difference in the size of the markets?
Size is a big factor.
You can never change the fact that the U.S is over 10x the size of Canada in terms of the population, and secondary to that is the programs that are being created in the states who have so far legalized cannabis in the U.S
I personally think a number of states have done a great job with their programs, and Michigan has done a phenomenal job with their cannabis program — with both medical and adult-use having been so very welcoming since day 1.
Beyond this, the ability to market a brand is so much better in the U.S vs Canada, and once again Michigan has really excelled in this area.
Canada has done a great job from a legal standpoint, however, in terms of the rules relative to what you see in the various states like Pennsylvania or Michigan, they are very far behind in a number of areas.
What was the insight that drove the decision to make your partnership with Cookies?
Cookies is a very well-established brand. One of the best in the cannabis industry.
With Cookies having been around for over a decade now, the two co-founders of Gage were able to recognize their prominence within California and we became Cookies first partner outside of California.
Partnering with best-in-class brands in order to elevate the Gage brand has been one of our main strategies whereby we partner with brands who are outside of Michigan and bring them into the region on an exclusive basis.
To date, this specific strategy has worked wonders for a Gage in terms of building recognition in Michigan.
(Some of Cookies products) 👇
What are the challenges you face in scaling Gage?
There are times whereby items are simply outside of our team’s control.
Whether this is delays in licensing, or delays in the supply chain those are the things that really keep us up at night.
From a Michigan standpoint, we are dealing with a lot of the cities on a city-by-city basis such that with each and every asset that you bring online, you're dealing with a new regulator as it's the cities that control the licensing structure in Michigan.
Once you have the approval at a city level, you go to the State, and at a State level, they've been inundated with applications such that obtaining a response takes time which can prevent us from hitting our desired dates.
What has you most excited about the future of the cannabis industry?
The increased acceptance of cannabis across society.
Alcohol is pretty much ingrained in the majority of societies across the world today, and I can’t wait for the day when cannabis has the same level of acceptance here in North America and around the world.
With this, being just like any other business, without, again, those handcuffs consistently slowing us down would just be hugely beneficial in terms of the new job creation we would see across the country.
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