Wells Fargo Closes Pro-Cannabis Candidate’s Bank Account

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog

A candidate campaigning for the spot of Agricultural Commissioner is accusing Wells Fargo of closing her account because of her support for legal cannabis.

Former cannabis lobbyist Nikki Fried [D] filed to run for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services on June 6, and opened a campaign account with Wells Fargo on the 13th.

On July 11, a representative from the bank sent an email to the campaign, explaining that they had discovered “some information regarding the customers (sic) political platform and that they are advocating for expanded patient access to medical marijuana.”

The representative also asked if anyone connected to the cannabis industry would be donating to the campaign. The staff answered the questions honestly, adding details about Fried’s professional representation of the industry.

The campaign’s compliance manager received a call from a Wells Fargo representative on August 3 to inform her that the bank was terminating Fried’s account with them due to her connections to the marijuana industry. The bank also sent a letter the same day, officially ending their relationship with Fried, claiming a need to oversee and manage banking risks.

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

“Secondhand, it was the fact I was taking money from lobbyists who represent the industry,” she said. “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.”

While federal laws don’t permit cannabis businesses to use the banking system, this represents the first time that a financial institution has denied banking services to someone who received donations from the marijuana industry.

Fried is running for the commissioner seat alongside three other Democrats and four Republicans. The position is being vacated by Adam Putnam who is reaching the end of his term limit.

Image: Nikki Fried