Wells Fargo strips bank account from pro-marijuana candidate
A Democratic political candidate in Florida is switching banks after Wells Fargo closed her campaign account for supporting medical marijuana reform.
Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for the state’s agriculture commissioner, was informed by her Wells Fargo bank that her account was terminated over her support for medical marijuana laws, reports the New York Times.
Fried is currently running on a platform that prioritizes expansion of Florida’s medical marijuana services. She has also described herself as “one of most visible faces and key activists in Florida’s burgeoning medical cannabis industry.”
Despite the campaign informing Wells Fargo in advance that the campaign would be receiving donations from lobbyists and “executives, employees and corporations in the medical marijuana industry,” the bank gave the campaign written notice last week informing Fried that the account would be closed, citing “banking risks” as the reason.
“Wells Fargo’s actions against my campaign are emblematic of what is wrong with our government and politics today,” Fried said in a news conference on Monday, adding that she was “kicked out of a bank for voicing support of a law that is literally codified in the Florida constitution.”
The lack of banking services has been a tremendous problem for the legal marijuana industry, forcing many businesses to illegally launder their legitimate earnings through purchasing high-end pieces of functional glass art.
“It is Wells Fargo’s policy 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,” said Wells Fargo spokesperson, Bridget Braxton, in a statement. “We continually review our banking relationships to ensure we adhere to strict regulatory and risk guidelines.”
However, Fried is the first political candidate to be affected by the policy, rather than a business.
“What’s next, will [Sen.] Cory Booker’s accounts be closed?” asked Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, chief executive of industry consultants the Blinc Group, in a statement to the Washington Post. “Should we expect to see [New York gubernatorial] candidate Cynthia Nixon’s accounts closed, as well?”
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