Wells Fargo Severs Ties With a Florida Candidate Over Medical Marijuana Donors

The move "highlights the extreme confusion around banking in cannabis."



Wells Fargo has found an unprecedented way to insert itself into public policy: It shut down a a Florida politician's bank account because of her donor base.

Nikki Fried, a former medical marijuana lobbyist, is running for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. The Democrat has made marijuana a top priority in her campaign, promising on her website to be a "fierce advocate for patient access to medical marijuana." Because of her devotion to cannabis, Fried received several donations from people in the medical marijuana industry.

About a month after filing to run and opening a campaign account with Wells Fargo in June, Fried received an email from the company informing her that her account was being closed. "As part of the onboarding of the client," the message noted, "it was uncovered some information regarding the customers [sic] political platform and that they are advocating for expanding patient access to medical marijuana." In a follow-up letter, Wells Fargo cited "banking risks" to formally terminate its relationship with Fried.

The pot industry has run into several issues with formal institutions such as banks, despite the fact that certain states have legalized the product. Even people who are not directly involved in the sale or handling of marijuana, such Josh Drayton of the California Cannabis Industry Association, have had bank accounts terminated. But Wells Fargo's decision to cut off a candidate for her marijuana-linked supporters seems to be the first of its kind.

"Wells Fargo's action here is absolutely inexcusable," Jeffrey Zucker of Green Lion Partners said in a press release put out by the Fried campaign. "While it highlights the extreme confusion around banking in cannabis, this issue should never come into play for political candidates fighting for the needs of constituents."

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  1. I was at the teller in Wells Fargo doing a transaction and I was then surrounded by protestors yelling “CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT! CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT!”

    It was the bank president and my financial advisor.

  2. Operation Choke Point may be officially dead, but its legacy lives on.

  3. “Nikki Fried is in the tank for BIG CANNABIS”

    1. One of the few lobbyist efforts I will support. BIG CANNIBIS and BIG HEMP OIL

  4. What, they couldn’t just do it anyway and skim some money for fines off the top?

    1. Sounds like HSBC – although I support them in their money laundering ventures; as my grandpa said repeatedly: “None of your damned business!”

  5. If I had an account at Wells Fargo, I would close it just for the bank’s use of “onboarding.”

    1. WF has a large chunk of assets in California. They didn’t think this one out too well it seems? Or are they just bucking for Mexican cartel money now that half the state [and its crops] are on fire? Hopefully, these tards go out of business – the business of being “solvent” is largely an opinion where regulators are concerned, so they don’t have much room to pull out this dive it seems to me.

  6. Any particular reason you guys omitted the teeny tiny detail that banks can be targeted by the federal government for money laundering laws if they deal with businesses involved with marijuana?

    1. They targeted a politician for her support of medical marijuana. Shouldn’t they cancel the accounts of every politician who has voted in favor of medical marijuana?

      What about those who vote against, but have received donations from people who once used pot?

      1. But they didn’t inhale, so totes cool.

  7. Any particular reason you guys omitted the teeny tiny detail that banks can be targeted by the federal government for money laundering laws if they deal with businesses involved with marijuana?

    1. Quick, name the bank investigated for actual money-laundering for Mexican cartels.

      1. I think Holder tapped them all during the last administration. Well, at least the large cap publicly traded ones. Notice nothing ever went to court, so the “investigation” was never intended for trial: just a good old fashioned shakedown. The monies received by settlement went out the backdoor as grants to favored leftist causes/organizations.

      2. HSBC?

        1. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

  8. The political issues come and go, but banks used to be about the money and stuck to craft. Couple this story with mastercard recently strong arming sites to ban users by extending their corporate policy into the websites [nearly uninvited] and I wonder: are we witnessing the death of banking? At a minimum, a very disturbing trend looms, and does not bode well for either freedom or commerce. In the case of websites sites being molested by the moneychangers, a suit for tortist interference is probably in order. If banks want to be responsible for others moral behavior… maybe some DA can try charging the bank of the next murderer that comes along and see if that doesn’t get smashed to pieces in a 9-0 decision. Civilization is losing its freakin mind, and hedging outside of traditional banking should be on everyone’s radar. Unchecked, statutes will be displaced by corporate policies, and… where are these companies going to go to court after they’ve burned it all to the ground? I guess the SJW’s can just mumble to themselves in their cubicles in the aftermath.

    1. Regulations are what caused WF to do this, not some sense of moral responsibility. Banks are very conservative when it comes to risk unless it’s uninsured by overleveraged real estate wrapped in A+ ranked derivatives

      1. Mastercard allegedly insisted that Patreon cancel Robert Spencer’s account. Even though Spencer doesn’t have a Mastercard account at all.

        So, no, they are hardly conservative any longer.

    2. One should remember that Jesus scoured the money changers, and rightfully so.

  9. Isn’t John Morgan (of Morgan and Morgan) a big proponent of legalizing medicinal marijuana in Florida? Wonder how a big class-action attorney feels about Wells Fargo screwing with their customers.

    1. “Isn’t John Morgan (of Morgan and Morgan) a big proponent of legalizing medicinal marijuana in Florida? Wonder how a big class-action attorney feels about Wells Fargo screwing with their customers.”

      Yes and silence.
      So far.

  10. Don’t do business with big west coast banks. It can never end well.

    1. Don’t do business with big _______ banks.

  11. This absolutely was a ridiculous move by WF and they have done little but turned many against them and lost out on money. It’s against the Federal law, but Trump has already stated he is in favor of medically used cannabis and has not allowed Sessions to prosecute. Trump does however need to get to legalizing cannabis on a Federal level.

  12. Meh, it’s much ado about nothing. Baker doesn’t want to bake someone a cake, bank doesn’t want to have an account for someone on the pretense of big scary marijuana, or sporting goods store wants to discriminate against rifles of color and not sell them. All fine, all fall under freedom of association. I really don’t see what’s here that could really twist panties.

  13. I have never in my life voted for a Donk.

    This one has me wavering …

  14. See, she lost me with the NRA , 2A bullshit.

    Fucking Donks, cant you just be for liberty and freedom?

    1. Fuck conservatards who brown nose Trump.

  15. I fired Wells Fargo many years ago.

    1. Same, went with a credit union. I only do banking with them now, fuck the banks fucking me.

    2. So sad, they were the only major bank who didn’t suck Bush/Obama dick for a juicy taxpayer bailout. They were forced to take it anyway, and forbidden from paying it back early. Fuck all the other banks. This is a shit move by Wells Fargo, but it’s far less shitty than what all the other banks did.

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  17. Medical marijuana is largely a farce though. While it certainly does have benefits, a lot of times companies want “medical” only because it means there’s no free market involved, that only medical companies can profit.

  18. The problem isn’t that the bank terminated an account, although given the public utility argument that is problematic as well, just not a libertarian basis of argument. The problem is that the bank is trying to link political donations (recognized as free speech) as money laundering for marijuana companies. Because she has a history as an MMJ lobbyist, she certainly has money sourced at some point in the MMJ trade which is dirty money according to the feds. Because the feds regulate the banks so heavy Wells Fargo is using this as cover to suppress the first amendment rights of this political candidate.

    1. Maybe it is just some a-hole at the bank who suppressed a candidate he didn’t like using a flimsy cover of drug money laundering.

  19. Just because Trump might be in favor of clarifying the position of those in the weed business doesn’t mean banks and other national entities are off the hook. Until the law is changed at the Federal level, no pot-related industry is safe. If Trump is impeached and Pence becomes president, who can say that he and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will not decide to swoop in on all the dispensaries and growers because fuck you that’s why. WF highlights this probability. If this account-closing gets more coverage, maybe it will bring to the issue the attention it must have to precipitate a change in Federal law.

  20. This should trigger all sorts of elections laws, as it should be considered a donation-in-kind to each of her opponents in the election.

  21. WF is the most dishonest cheats in the biz — After the fake accounts, fake loans, closing valid accounts, lying in federal court, unscrupulous business practices, repeated racism and now leftist politics.. it would be my last choice & this is just one more reason to use our brains and ban Wells Fargo.. Credit unions are safer from my experience – and less political.

  22. Hmm, we should be concerned about this…but deplatforming voices on the right aren’t a big deal because they’re private entities doing it.

    You cannot have it both ways. If I shouldn’t care that Spencer lost his Patreon account…why should I give two shits about this?

  23. We already know the empty integrity Wells Fargo has demonstrated; remember, very recently?; gotta wonder what kinda’ deal who made with whom to stay out of prison, after what was so recently revealed; and what kind of deal was made to bail them out of criminal if not financial accountability. It’s all about the money; follow the money back, and there stands the bankers; there must be some, hopefully many, bankers who believe in their community. I found a bank that is so, I believe. I love ’em. Yet, the Friedman rape of the future has created some real monsters, no? The corporatocracy; they all work for the bankers, and the bankers know…:-

  24. Thanks for sharing such great insights. Keep it up!

  25. Thanks for sharing such great insights. Keep it up!

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