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First Coast

Fried Denies Cannabis Conflict Of Interest Allegation, Calling It ‘Smear Campaign’

In this June 7, 2019 file photo, Nikki Fried, Florida's Democrat commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, speaks at a reception during the Florida Democratic Party state conference, in Orlando.
JOHN RAOUX / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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In this June 7, 2019 file photo, Nikki Fried, Florida's Democrat commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, speaks at a reception during the Florida Democratic Party state conference, in Orlando.

The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried’s fiance’ has a hemp business license through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Fried, who’s a Democrat running in the 2022 governor’s race, also amended a previous financial disclosure from when she ran for office in 2018, revealing a much higher income from consulting for cannabis companies.

On First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Monday, Fried was asked whether her cannabis industry connections are a conflict of interest.  Fried dismissed what she calls a “smear campaign.”

“Yes I do have stocks in a company that I earned when I was in the private sector but I do not regulate marijuana space so that’s first and foremost.  Any conflict of interests that people allege to be out there doesn’t exist,” she said.  

Fried is pushing for ending the state’s required vertical integration in the marijuana industry  — meaning companies have to grow, package, transport and sell their products.

The entire interview with Fried is available on Monday’s First Coast connect with Melissa Ross, which encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

Michelle Corum can be reached at mcorum@wjct.org, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.