Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a former marijuana lobbyist, has failed to address her financial ties to the marijuana industry as she advocates for legalization and uses her position to influence medical marijuana legislation. While legacy media looks the other way, other reporting has revealed connections that should raise questions by those interested in transparency and conflicts of interest.
Fried Makes Decisions Related to Marijuana Industry
Documents filed in 2020 shows that Fried had a financial interest in a marijuana company doing business in Florida in 2019, the same year she created the Cannabis Office and the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. Also, documents filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics indicate that Fried’s 2019 financial interest in Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc was not revealed until months after she created the marijuana related government organizations.
Financial Disclosure Reveals Ownership in Marijuana Company
For the past two years, Agriculture Commissioner Fried has gone to extremes to hide her ownership in a publicly-traded marijuana company. But the revelation of her controversial involvement raises new questions about how she secretly acquired the nearly $200,000 ownership stake in Harvest Health and Recreation, Inc., and how over the past year she managed to acquire another $190,000 in “personal effects” (such as furniture, jewelry, or other household items).
Fried’s Family Tied to New Cannabis Company
While Agriculture Commissioner Fried was taking steps to influence Florida cannabis policy and implement rules that regulate the cultivation of hemp, her fiancee’, Jake Bergmann, created a web of companies with people and organizations that have a professional interest in the cannabis and the hemp industry. Several of the people involved with the businesses have connections to Nikki Fried, including Fried’s father, Ronald Fried. Also, one of the companies is registered at Fried’s personal residence.
Fried’s New Wealth a Mystery
Seven months after a mandatory filing deadline, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Fried reported her 2018 income to the Florida Ethics Commission. That required information was missing from the document she initially filed last July, but went unnoticed for nearly seven months. Her failure to comply with the state’s financial disclosure law was first reported by The Capitolist more than a week ago.
But Fried’s newly reported income of just $72,000 falls short of explaining how Fried became a millionaire between June of 2018 and June of 2019. She claimed a net worth of just over $271,000 on her 2017 disclosure, which she filed in mid-2018, but on her report for fiscal year 2018, she listed a new net worth of $1.4 million, a one-year gain of $1.13 million in new wealth.
Nikki Fried’s Net Worth Increases 416%, Tied to Former Cannabis Exec
Based on financial disclosure forms filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics, the net worth of Fried -Florida’s recently elected Agriculture Commissioner – increased by $1,129,950 in one year. Fried’s net worth increased from $271,613, reported on June 18, 2018, to $1,401,563, reported on June 24, 2019. This is a 416% increase.