Florida Candidate Dumped by Wells Fargo Over Marijuana

Nikki Fried is a Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner with ties to cannabis
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2018 2:55 PM CDT
Wells Fargo Drops Candidate With Medical Marijuana Ties
In this Feb. 17, 2016 file photo, marijuana plants grow at a home in Honolulu.   (AP Photo/Marina Riker, File)

A political candidate in Florida has been dropped as a customer by Wells Fargo for her ties to and support of medical marijuana. Per the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried was forced to move her campaign funds to another institution because of this stance. Fried spoke out against the move Monday during a news conference in which she criticized the banking giant. "I am happy to tell Wells Fargo 'good riddance,' and finding a bank to take my campaign contributions without making a value judgment on my platform was not difficult to find," she told reporters while calling out banks in general that routinely refuse to do business with medical marijuana businesses.

To that end, a Wells Fargo representative told the Orlando Sentinel that the bank's policy is "not to knowingly bank or provide services to marijuana businesses or for activities related to those businesses, based on federal laws under which the sale and use of marijuana is illegal even if state laws differ." Nonetheless, Fried maintains she doesn't fit under that category simply because of her espoused values. "I'm a candidate. I have a right to be heard," Fried said. "I am not touching the plant, I am not selling the plant, I'm not producing the plant. I'm simply advocating for the expansion of medical marijuana." The bank gave Fried's campaign 30 days to close its account after learning that some contributions have and would come from the marijuana industry, for which Fried herself is a former lobbyist. Fried is now banking with BB&T Bank. (Read more medical marijuana stories.)

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