If you were involved in applying for medical marijuana licenses in Missouri, you probably know Jack Cardetti from his role as a long time Democrat political operative & consultant who helped draft and campaign for the New Approach Missouri Constitutional ballot initiative passed by voters in Nov. 2018. Cardetti now works as the spokesman for MOCannTrade, the association that represents most of Missouri's marijuana licenses, and is involved in a 2022 recreational marijuana ballot proposal that would give medical marijuana market incumbents primacy in the allocation of recreational marijuana licenses.
The controversy over the allocation of licenses in Missouri's medical marijuana program could not find a better focal point for understanding the disparities between winners and losers than Jack Cardetti, who won 6 licenses in the program he helped create and implement. A recent report from the nonprofit Cannabis Consumers Coalition found pervasive conflicts of interest in the license application process -- individuals associated with Cardetti and MOCannTrade were intimately connected to the scoring team at Wise Health Solutions and the software platform Complia that was used to intake applications for scoring.
While 853 of the individuals or entities who were denied licensing in Missouri's medical marijuana program are fighting appeals with the Administrative Hearing Commission, Jack Cardetti has set himself up to prosper with the licenses he won through his company QPS Holdings and a partnership with Michigan-based C3 Industries.
Last week, MJBizDaily reported that C3 Industries finished raising $45 million to fund its operations in Missouri & Massachusetts, along with further expansion. That's a lot of money -- it indicates investors believe Cardetti's marijuana licenses are likely to be very profitable, especially given the restrictions on competition that have created enormous controversy in Missouri.
Many other Missourians would like a similar opportunity -- to own a business in an emerging industry that investors see as profitable. But Jack Cardetti has been extraordinarily successful in ensuring the door is shut to ordinary Missourians who would like to realize the American promise of equal opportunity, particularly those individuals who have been impacted by marijuana prohibition and faced prosecution, incarceration, or other consequences -- many of who are poor and politically weak or from racial minorities that have borne the brunt of prohibition.
We call on the Missouri General Assembly to do everything possible in 2021-2022 to ensure that these opportunities are made more widely available for Missourians. It's simpy unfair and unjust that Jack Cardetti -- and the special interests he represents -- can game the system to profit from a business that he's excluded the rest of us from.