Press Release: Wells Fargo Terminates Democratic Ag Commissioner candidate for pro-medical marijuana “political platform”

Tallahassee, Fla. — In a never before seen action by a major financial institution, Wells Fargo terminated its banking relationship with a candidate for statewide office in Florida, citing a “political platform” that included advocacy for “patient access to medical marijuana.”

On Monday, August 20th, Nikki Fried will hold a 10 AM media availability on the first floor of the Florida Capitol to address this arbitrary, unprecedented action against the fundamental rights to speech of a candidate for public office, and call attention to the out of touch institutions, laws and politicians that allowed this transgression to occur in the first place.

BACKGROUND: Democrat Nikki Fried filed to run for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services on June 6th, 2018, opening her campaign account with Wells Fargo on June 13th, 2018.

Roughly a month later, on July 11th, a bank representative reached out to the campaign via email saying they had “uncovered some information regarding the customers {sic} political platform and that they are advocating for expanded patient access to medical marijuana.” The email from Wells Fargo went on to ask if the campaign would receive “funds received from lobbyists from the medical marijuana industry in any capacity?”

Fried was herself a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry prior to becoming a candidate for office. In a July 17th response, the campaign answered the questions from Wells Fargo, additionally telling the bank of Fried’s own professional representation of the medical marijuana industry.

On August 3rd, a Wells Fargo representative called the campaign’s compliance manager to let her know the bank was terminating its relationship with Fried because of her relationship with the medical marijuana industry. On August 14th, the campaign received a letter from Wells Fargo, dated August 3rd, 2018, formally terminating its banking relationship with Fried, citing its need to “oversee and manage banking risks.”