Candidate: Wells Fargo closed account over medical marijuana stance

Updated Aug 20, 2018
Nicole “Nikki” Fried

A candidate for Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services claims that banking giant Wells Fargo has dropped her as a client due to her advocacy of medical marijuana.

Fort Lauderdale lawyer Nicole “Nikki” Fried has released a series of emailed correspondence with Wells Fargo that she says proves her allegation.

ELECTIONS 2018: Know Your Candidates

In one of the emails, from July 11, nearly a month after Fried filed to run for the elected state cabinet post, a Wells Fargo official asked if the Fried campaign would receive “funds received from lobbyists from the medical marijuana industry in any capacity?”

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A press release from Fried’s campaign that accompanies the release of the correspondence notes that the campaign’s response on July 17 also noted that Fried had served as a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry before seeking political office.

The correspondence includes a a purported Wells Fargo document dated Aug. 5 stating that Fried’s support “on the medical marijuana issue” required ending their banking relationship.

The correspondence includes what the Fried campaign said is the Wells Fargo letter giving them written notice that the bank was “discontinuing our business relationship” and closing the account. That letter did not cite a specific reason for the bank’s decision other than saying it had to “oversee and manage banking risks.”

Related: Florida medical marijuana industry on track to hit $1 billion — but when?

Wells Fargo has not commented on the matter.

Fried is one of three Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for the Agriculture and Consumer Services post in the Aug. 28 primary.

In her Know Your Candidates query from the Palm Beach Post, Fried noted one of her priorities is “expanding medical marijuana and getting medicine to the people who need it.” Four Republicans are also seeking the GOP nomination for the post.

The current commissioner, Adam Putnam, is running for governor.