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Nikki Fried Denies Cannabis Conflict of Interest


After a scathing report from The Orlando Sentinel tying Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried to the cannabis industry, the gubernatorial candidate has denied that there is any conflict of interest.

“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.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectShe called the reports a “smear campaign” against her.

The Florida Capital Star has previously written about Fried’s potential conflicts.

The Orlando Sentinel report stated that “just as Nikki Fried took office as Florida’s new agriculture commissioner promising to expand access to marijuana and hemp, records show that her now-fiancé sold nearly $5 million worth of stock from a marijuana company he co-founded and used much of the money to invest in a number of new cannabis businesses.”

Public records indicate Bergmann had amassed interests in about a dozen cannabis companies. One of the companies obtained a hemp permit from Fried’s agency after Fried led the effort to legalize hemp in Florida.

Fried also revealed that she invested in one of Florida’s few licensed medical marijuana providers — a company that is now being acquired by the state’s biggest marijuana business in a $2.1 billion deal.

And recently, Fried amended her sources of income related to her 2017 and 2018 financial disclosure forms days ahead of her June 1 campaign announcement.

“One of the sources of her income increase is from Ignite Florida, a consulting firm where she is sole proprietor and lobbies the marijuana industry. Specifically, she amended a 2018 financial statement on May 28 indicating she received $351,480 from the firm. Previously, she had to amend the same 2018 statements on January 30, 2020 saying she received $72,000 in 2018 income,” The Florida Capital Star reported.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to