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Nikki Fried

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday encouraged supporters of a new state hemp industry to tell Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a bill that would lead to a regulatory framework for the crop.

The state of Florida has officially launched an investigation into the group that raised over $23 million online, in a stated effort to privately build President Trump’s proposed border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“In response to consumer complaints, including those referred by the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened an investigation into this charity,” Department of Agriculture spokesperson Franco Ripple told WLRN in an email.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried ran on a platform of what she called 'the three W’s': weapons, water and weed. Within months of her swearing in, it’s that last W that’s already generating a buzz around the state. 

Gummy bears, oils, cocktails, ice cream ... Products with CBD in them have practically become ubiquitous in South Florida. The chemical CBD comes from the cannabis plant and that fact is leaving business owners in a kind of grey zone. But increasingly the federal government is taking notice, while regulations from the state are forthcoming.

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried wants the legislature to provide 77 full time employees to help process background checks for gun licensing.

A bill that would regulate hemp growing and sales, bringing Florida in line with federal laws, unanimously passed in its first Senate committee hearing Wednesday.

Courtesy Second and Seed

The Sarasota Police Department may soon be cracking down on the non-euphoric hemp product cannabidoil (CBD) – a cousin of the marijuana plant.

A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Citing a “tremendous safety threat,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is asking President Donald Trump to use his executive power to allow banks to do business with state-authorized medical marijuana companies. 

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is tapping Nashville hemp consultant Holly Bell for the department’s cannabis director. Bell was instrumental in getting Tennessee’s hemp industry off the ground, and Fried hopes Bell can do the same in Florida.

“The economic impact for our state is enormous. [The] medical marijuana industry alone is projected to have a $1.6 billion economics, creating more jobs in manufacturing by 2020. Hemp can be a multi-billion-dollar industry here in the state,” said Fried.

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried gave details Wednesday about the new role she hopes the state Director of Cannabis will fill. 

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried added sexual orientation and gender identity to workplace protections at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Fried, the lone Democrat to hold one of the state’s three Cabinet positions, is the first to add such protections to hiring rules that address race, religion and disability.

'Groveland Four' Posthumously Pardoned

Jan 11, 2019

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the independently elected Cabinet granted a pardon to four African-American men accused of raping a white woman almost 70 years ago.

DeSantis announced the posthumous pardons Friday for the men known as the Groveland Four.

A day before her inauguration incoming Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried stopped by Second Harvest of Big Bend in Tallahassee to help fill bags and boxes with food for families. She took a break from community service Monday to address the media.

Eight Florida youth have amended a lawsuit accusing the state of failing to protect them from climate change to name Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

The lawsuit alleges the state has violated the youth’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by supporting policies that accelerate climate change.

Newly-Elected Ag Commissioner Promises Audit Of Gun Program

Dec 3, 2018
Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida's newly elected agriculture commissioner is vowing to conduct a "deep dive" into the state's concealed weapons permit program once she is sworn into office.

Bill Would Move Concealed Weapons Licenses To FDLE

Nov 30, 2018

The state’s concealed-weapons licensing program would be moved to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, under a measure proposed Thursday by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. 

Weapons. Water. Weed. Nikki Fried successfully campaigned on those "three W's" to become Florida’s new agriculture commissioner. The former lobbyist defeated Republican challenger Matt Caldwell in an extremely tight race that went to a manual recount. The margin of victory was only 6,000 votes or .08%.

Fried has an ambitious and progressive policy platform but faces some difficult challenges. She will be the lone Democrat elected to Florida's cabinet and expects to face pushback on policies related to gun control and climate change.

Florida Certifies Results Of Contentious 2018 Election

Nov 20, 2018
Mark Scheiner/WUSF

Trump-allied Republican Ron DeSantis was formally elected governor of Florida and outgoing Gov. Rick Scott elected U.S. senator on Tuesday when the state certified election results two weeks after tight margins prompted tumultuous recounts.

Caldwell Concedes In Florida Ag Commissioner Race

Nov 19, 2018
WLRN

Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell said Monday he won't challenge his loss to Democrat Nikki Fried in Florida's agriculture commission race — a contest that was the closest of the three statewide seats that went through a recount.

Former medical-marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried is on the verge of being the only Florida Democrat to capture a statewide win, gaining votes over Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture commissioner after a manual recount was completed Sunday.

The manual recount also had no effect on the outcome of three razor-thin legislative races, in which Democrat Janet Cruz flipped a state Senate seat and House Republicans picked up one seat and held onto another.

The candidates to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture have a number of stark differences -- not least of which are their backgrounds.

State Rep. Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate, is a seventh generation Floridian from a family of farmers. Democrat Nikki Fried, a public defender and medical-marijuana lobbyist, is from urban South Florida.

The legality of medical marijuana is still largely a gray area in the eyes of the federal government. The confusion impacting banks, dispensaries and policy is leading some, like democratic candidate for Commissioner of Agricuture Nikki Fried, to call for reform.

Florida democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is making medical marijuana a key part of her platform. The South Florida lobbyist is calling for federal legislation and vowing to expand the state’s medical marijuana industry.

Florida's Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner says a second bank has terminated her campaign account because she supports medical marijuana.

A lawyer from South Florida with ties to the state's medical marijuana industry has won the Florida Democratic primary for agriculture commissioner.

WLRN

The race for governor is not the only statewide political contest during primary season. Republicans and Democrats will also choose their favorite candidate to run for the state's top consumer watchdog: the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


A candidate running to become the state's next agriculture commissioner says banking giant Wells Fargo shut down her campaign account because she supports medical marijuana.

Fried Tries To Parlay Pot Into Cabinet Position

Jun 13, 2018

Nikki Fried has spent the past three years trying to tear down barriers to getting medical marijuana to Florida patients, facing roadblocks from state health officials and lawmakers in the process.