Democratic candidate Nikki Fried — running for Commissioner of Agriculture — talks to the press Monday, Aug. 20, in the Capitol building in Tallahassee. Fried is the first woman to be elected as Commissioner of Agriculture. Photo credit: Kevin Cate
In early August, Wells Fargo bank notified Florida Democratic candidate Nikki Fried – running for Commissioner of Agriculture – that she had 30 days to find another bank.
Why? Apparently because of Fried’s strong ties and support for the medical marijuana industry.
“I thought it was a joke,” Fried said during a Monday morning press conference.
In a series of emails between Fried’s campaign and the bank, Wells Fargo asked if she had gotten money from the medical marijuana industry.
The campaign has received contributions from medical marijuana lobbyists and others tied to the industry. At one point, an email from Fried’s campaign said, Fried herself was a medical marijuana lobbyist.
Fried’s campaign has since moved its accounts to BB&T bank.
She said the bold stroke is “unprecedented” and is “emblematic of what is wrong with our government and politics today.”
The candidate said she thinks her campaign is being targeted because of its advocacy for medical marijuana, an initiative which voters overwhelmingly supported in a Constitutional ballot measure in 2016.
“They know I understand the industry across the state and across the U.S., that I am advocating for the expansion, that I’m vocal on these issues, and because I believe that the rest of the state knows I have real shot of winning this in November,” Fried said.
Wells Fargo was not available for comment.
“I’m a candidate,” Fried said. “I am not touching the plant (marijuana), I am not selling the plant, I am not producing the plant. I’m simply advocating for the expansion of medical marijuana and that was the reason for (Wells Fargo) closing me down. Secondhand, it was the fact I was taking money from lobbyists who represent the industry. And I wonder how many other accounts they are not looking at across the country…or any of the law firms or any of the other lobbying shops that have clients for medical marijuana.”
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