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Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Nikki Fried: 'I Was Specifically Targeted' By Wells Fargo

Nikki Fried is dressed in a business suit clutching a podium with microphones resting close to her.
Ryan Dailey

A Democratic candidate in the race for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture says she’s been “targeted” after her campaign account was closed by Wells Fargo. Nikki Fried claims it’s because of her advocacy for medical marijuana.

Fried is raising questions as to why her account was shuttered after she received donations from lobbyists supporting medicinal marijuana.

“I wonder, how many other accounts they are not looking at? We know across the country that there are candidates out there supporting advocacy for medical purposes and they haven’t shut down their accounts,” Fried said. “Or any of the law firms, or any of the other lobbying shops that have clients for medical marijuana. I was specifically targeted.”

Fried addressed reporters at the Capitol Monday, claiming her campaign being singled out is indicative of the scrutiny medical pot operations face every day.

“At a time when 30 states including Washington D.C. has legalized medical marijuana, and licensed businesses to practice and distribute marijuana to patients and caregivers, access to basic financial stability is virtually impossible to these legal businesses,” Fried said.

Fried says she supports medical marijuana because it’s the will of the voters.

“I am not touching the plant, I am not selling the plant, I am not producing the plant,” Fried said. “I am simply advocating for the expansion of medical marijuana, and that was the reason for closing me down.”

In a statement, Wells Fargo says its policy is “not to bank or provide services to marijuana businesses or for activities related to those businesses.”

The Department of Agriculture oversees some aspects of the medical marijuana industry in Florida, including those related to pesticides and food safety.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.