Medical Marijuana Advocate Nikki Fried Enters Agriculture Commissioner Race

By: KEVIN DERBY Sunshine State News

Lobbyist Nikki Fried has entered the Democratic primary to be Florida’s next agriculture commissioner, launching her bid on Monday and showcasing her support for medical marijuana.

Fried, who served as student body president of the University of Florida, has been a leading lobbyist on behalf of medical marijuana expansion through Ignite Florida. As she launches her new campaign, Fried made it clear that medical marijuana will be one of the cornerstone issues she will focus on.

“Our government is broken,” Fried says in the web video launching her new campaign. “There is no clearer example of our broken government than medical marijuana.”

Fried also insisted that her ability to bring people together and her role as a political outsider can help her new effort.

“I’m running because Tallahassee needs leadership that will actually serve the people of Florida, and listen to what the people want. It’s not about right or left; it’s about getting things done,” Fried said as she began her new campaign.

Besides medical marijuana, the new candidate promises to “help revitalize the struggling agriculture industry in Florida by advocating for legislation to allow the growing of industrial hemp (currently authorized as a pilot program); support Florida farmers still recovering from the combined devastation of Hurricane Irma and citrus canker; ensure that industry concerns are properly balanced with environmental and consumer protections; emphasize and strengthen the role of the Department in consumer services, protections and advocacy; and to be an independent voice on the Florida Cabinet on issues of clemency, oversight of the state pension fund, and major land-use decisions.”

In the video, Fried also says guns have too few regulations on them.

The new candidate joins Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter and biologist R. David Walker in the Democratic primary field. On the Republican side, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, state Sen. Denise Grimsley, former gubernatorial and U.S. Senate hopeful retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman are running.