Wells Fargo closes account of Florida candidate who backs medical cannabis

In an election-year example of banks’ reluctance to affiliate with the cannabis industry, Wells Fargo terminated the campaign account of a Florida agriculture commissioner candidate because she supports medical marijuana.

The move underscores the perils of political candidates who advocate on behalf of the cannabis industry – and, if more widespread, could hamper pro-MJ reform efforts.

Here are the basics surrounding the situation:

  • Democrat Nikki Fried reported Monday that the banking giant had started asking questions after uncovering information that her campaign was advocating for expanded access to medical marijuana.
  • Fried said she responded in July that she had lobbied for medical marijuana companies and received contributions from MMJ lobbyists.
  • Then, just weeks before the Aug. 28 primary, Wells Fargo said it was shutting down her account, based on a review of its banking risks.

Florida voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but some banks are reluctant to do business with an industry that remains illegal under federal law.

Wells Fargo had no immediate comment Monday.

As recently as June, the chairman of the Federal Reserve said federally chartered banks such as Wells Fargo were in a difficult position and seemed to caution them from serving marijuana businesses until lawmakers clarified the discrepancies between state and federal law.

A number of marijuana reform bills have been introduced in Congress to resolve banking and other issues, but experts are skeptical anything will pass before midterm elections in November.

In the meantime, developments like Fried’s “will certainly have political and electoral consequences,” according to Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, co-CEO of The Blinc Group, a business development service for the cannabis industry.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily

2 comments on “Wells Fargo closes account of Florida candidate who backs medical cannabis
  1. Ean Seeb on

    The state of Colorado banks with Wells Fargo and takes in hundreds of millions in tax revenue from operators each year. Will Wells Fargo cease ties with local jurisdictions and states or is this an isolated issue?

    I predict we see no action taken against the State of Colorado by Wells Fargo anytime soon.

    Reply
  2. Doc on

    Wells Fargo. The bank that opened millions of unauthorized accounts in customers’ names and charged them fees.

    Their recent ad campaign says something about being “Refounded in 2018,” as if that will get them past the backlash. Idiots.

    Now they refuse deposits from, NOT anyone actually in MMJ, but a politician who supports it. Yes, there are risks to banking with what the Feds regard as drug dealers. This wasn’t that.

    Why does ANYONE bank with them?

    Reply

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