Crist, Fried Call for Reform of Federal Medical Marijuana Laws
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, candidate for state agricultural commissioner, want the federal government to allow the states to regulate their own medical marijuana programs without interference.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Democratic candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried called for reform of federal laws regulating medical marijuana.
Their call for reform came in a joint telephone press conference that was called after the second bank in a month terminated Fried’s campaign account because of her advocacy for the expansion of access to medical marijuana and her acceptance of donations from businesses in the industry.
“What has happened to Nikki is an unfortunate reminder of the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, highlighting an urgent need for action. We must make clear financial institutions serving marijuana-related businesses will be protected and that states have the right to direct their own marijuana programs without federal interference,” said Crist, D-St. Petersburg. “While I continue pushing for these changes on the federal level, we need Nikki’s leadership on the state level, protecting the will of the voters and patients’ access to compassionate care even in the face of challenges.”
On July 11, Wells Fargo took the unprecedented step of closing Fried’s bank account. On Aug. 29, BB&T notified the campaign that they too, were terminating their relationship with Fried, citing their need to comply with federal law which prohibits the use, sale and possession of all forms of cannabis—even though the state of Florida constitutionally guarantees access to medical marijuana.
The campaign and political committee had their accounts frozen immediately and were told to find a new depository in less than a week. The campaign was also unable to access the accounts online within just three days of notification.
“With under 60 days until Election Day, another big bank, BB&T, has terminated my campaign account once again—singling me out because of my political views and my advocacy to expand patient access to media marijuana in Florida. This unnecessary action directly underscores the dire need for marijuana policy reform on the federal level,” Fried said. “Even after 31 states, Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized medical marijuana, access to basic financial services for caregivers and producers is still almost impossible. As Florida’s next commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, I will work tirelessly, alongside leaders like Congressman Crist, to ensure the will of Floridians is respected, and patients have safe and legal access to their medicine.”
Fried said that despite the overwhelming support among Floridians for medical marijuana, legislators and officials in Tallahassee have been slow to implement the law. Tallahassee “is broken,” Fried said. The government, she said, should implement the “will of the people.”
Crist said he agrees that medical marijuana should be easier to get. Crist has proposed a bipartisan bill (click here for related story) that, among other things, would protect those who legally use medical marijuana from discrimination in hiring and firing decisions for jobs in federal agencies.The goal, Crist said, is to protect federal employment opportunities and treatment options for civilian federal agency employees residing in a state or territory where their use of medical marijuana is legal.
Crist said the bill has received bipartisan support. It is not a “partisan or radical proposal,” he said.
For information about Fried, go to nikkifried.com.
For information about Crist, go to crist.house.gov.
Photo shows Charlie Crist, left, and Nikki Fried.
Charlie Crist | Nikki Fried | Medical Marijuana | Politics | Elections | Tampabay News
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