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  • Union Official Charged With Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Dispensaries

    According to court documents unsealed Wednesday, union official Daniel Rush was charged this week for allegedly accepting bribes from marijuana dispensaries.

    The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) has been at the forefront of organizing workers in the newly emerging marijuana industry. Rush, of Oakland, served as the executive director of the UFCW cannabis division.

    “[He] accepted money in exchange for his actions and influence as a UFCW union official,” the criminal complaint, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, said. “Rush also referred workers’ compensation clients to an attorney in Oakland’s Fruitvale District in exchange for kickbacks from the attorney’s law practice.”

    Rush allegedly used his influence and power as a union official in exchange for cash or other benefits from 2010 to 2014. In some cases, the indictment alleges, he undermined his own union for personal gain. The charges say he endorsed dispensaries and told them how to defeat unionizing campaigns.

    The charges cited Rush made such a deal in order to forgive a $600,000 debt he had with a dispensary. He borrowed the large sum of money in cash. Rush was charged after an investigation by the FBI into his activities.

    According to the Center for Union Facts, Rush was already getting paid $121,124 in total compensation from the UFCW as of 2013.

    The union campaign into the industry has been extensive. The UFCW successfully finalized the first ever union contract for cannabis workers in Washington state back in June. It also joined farm workers and supporters in a call for Ohio to legalize the drug.

    The federal government outlawed the sale, possession and use of marijuana in a series of laws primarily enacted in the 1930s. Several states in the last few years have already legalized the drug with many more either decriminalizing it or allowing it for medical purposes.

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