Nikki Fried Had Financial Interest in Marijuana Company While Making Decisions Related to Marijuana Industry – Tallahassee Reports
Documents filed in 2020 shows that Nikki 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.
Fried filed her 2019 Form 6 – Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests – as required by law on June 30, 2020. The form indicated she had a financial interest in Harvest Health & Recreation through an asset labeled “Ignite Holdings, LLC”. The exact date that the marijuana related asset was obtained was not provided. The asset was listed with a value of approximately $190,000.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Fried was asked about her investments in early 2019, but she refused to provide details.
Fried’s 2018 Form 6 did not show a financial interest in Harvest Health & Recreational. This indicates it was acquired after Fried was elected to her position as Agriculture Commissioner.
The Capitolist was the first to report the connection between Nikki Fried and Harvest Health.
TR has previously revealed that Fried’s fiancee and her father, Ron Fried, have a financial interest in a cannabis related business which began in 2019.
Harvest Health & Recreational
Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. is a vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator with operations in Florida.
Harvest Health & Recreation purchased San Felasco Nursery in Gainesville, in November 2018. The purchase price was reported to be approximately $65 million.
Nikki Fried listed San Felasco as a main source of income in 2018.
“Florida is one of our core markets with a rapidly growing medical patient population,” Harvest CEO Steve White said in January 2021. “We look forward to opening new retail locations in Florida after additional capacity at Alachua comes on line.”
Fried, like other officials, is required to file Form 6 for 2020 within the next two months. The filing should reveal the status of her investment in Harvest Health & Recreation.
Nikki Fried and Marijuana
In February 2019, Fried announced her appointment of Holly Bell as the Director of Cannabis. A press release stated that Bell’s role would be to “oversee the development of rules, work directly with scientific experts, and ensure Commissioner Fried’s vision for cannabis in Florida continues moving forward.” (Emphasis added)
In June 2019, Fried announced a newly-created Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee. The press release noted that the purpose of the committee was to “collaborate with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help improve the state’s medical marijuana policies.”
“I’m proud to establish the medical marijuana advisory committee to help expand patient access, and to advance and modernize policies to move Florida into the future of medical marijuana,” stated Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Fried – who is a former marijuana lobbyist – has been an outspoken advocate for legalizing marijuana. Fried recently tweeted that “Legalizing cannabis solves lots of problems and creates none.”
Fried also recently penned an opinion piece published in the Tallahassee Democrat speaking against a Florida House bill which places a cap on THC levels. Her position mirrors the industry position. (There was no disclosure included with the opinion piece informing readers that Fried and her family have financial interests in marijuana companies.)
At no time during 2019 did Fried disclose that she or her family had a financial interest in marijuana companies.