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UFCW Praises Passage Of Marijuana Regulation Bill By California Senate Committees


united commercial food workers ucfw marijuanaUnited Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council Executive Director Jim Araby has made the following statement on the approval of AB 266 (Bonta/Cooley/Jones-Sawyer) by the Senate Health and Senate Governance and Finance Committees today. The UFCW is the only union in California representing cannabis industry workers, with 1,200 members statewide.

“Licensing and training go hand in hand with public safety. That’s why medical cannabis workers have come together to advocate for standards in their industry, just like other health care professionals. AB 266 improves workforce training and professional standards and, importantly, protections for workers when they speak up for patient safety.

“Although consumers increasingly believe that medical cannabis is harmless, few have expertise in varieties, dosages and other critical information needed to consume cannabis products safely. Cannabis workers are leading the charge for workforce training and licensing provisions contained in AB 266.”

Recent studies have uncovered improperly labeled edible cannabis and high levels of pesticides in some medical cannabis products in California. The regulations contained in AB 266 will provide significant help in correcting these unacceptable threats to consumer safety. A licensed, professionalized workforce is a consumer’s first line of defense every day. Regulators cannot always be there.

AB 266 would establish a regulatory framework that will protect a cannabis workers and consumers. UCFW has advocated for a cannabis worker apprenticeship and certification program to be included in such legislation.

Source: UCFW press release


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  1. Forrest Anderson on

    Union Organizer Indicted for Corruption, Attempted Extortion, and Money Laundering
    UFCW Organizer Dan Rush Charged with Using His Position to Personally Profit

    U.S. Attorney’s Office September 17, 2015 Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

    OAKLAND—A federal grand jury in Oakland indicted Daniel Rush today with taking illegal payments as a union employee, honest services fraud, attempted extortion, and money laundering announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

    According to the indictment, Rush, 54, of Oakland, is alleged to have used his position as a union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to obtain money and other things of value over a five year period from 2010 to 2015.

    Rush was an organizing coordinator of the medical cannabis division of the UFCW. The indictment alleges that, while a union employee, Rush accepted $550,000 in debt forgiveness from an individual affiliated with medical marijuana dispensaries. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent in connection with a criminal complaint filed in the same matter, Rush and a coconspirator formulated a scheme to obtain debt forgiveness in exchange for favorable treatment by the union. The individual who agreed to the debt forgiveness was cooperating with the FBI’s investigation at the time Rush proposed the arrangement.

    The indictment also charges Rush with taking kickbacks from an attorney to whom he had referred medical marijuana dispensaries as clients. Rush, the indictment alleges, had a duty to provide honest services to the UFCW; that duty including refraining from self-dealing when interacting with the marijuana dispensaries whose workers it was his job to organize. Rush is charged with engaging in a scheme in which he violated that duty in exchange for kickbacks from the attorney.

    The indictment further charges Rush with taking kickbacks from the same attorney in exchange for arranging for the attorney to represent clients in worker’s compensation matters. Rush was an officer and director of an advocacy organization for the working poor. Rush directed the organization’s referral of worker’s compensation clients to the attorney. In exchange, the attorney provided Rush with a credit card on which Rush charged thousands of dollars of personal expenses which ultimately were paid by the attorney.

    Rush also is charged with attempted extortion. Rush was a member of the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission, which is a commission of the City of Berkeley organized to facilitate the appropriate licensing and regulation of medical marijuana in the city. Rush demanded a well-compensated job from a prospective medical marijuana dispensary in exchange for his influence as a member of the commission.

    In addition, the indictment alleges that Rush engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering and financial structuring, as well as substantive money laundering. The indictment and FBI agent’s affidavit filed in the case explain that Rush took a loan totaling $600,000 in cash from a person engaged in the marijuana business. Rush and the attorney engaged in a series of structuring transactions designed to obscure the origin of the money. Over the ensuing years, Rush required the attorney to fund interest payments on the loan and, when Rush ultimately was not able to repay the loan, he offered favorable union benefits in exchange for forgiveness of the loan.

    In sum, Rush was charged with taking illegal payments as a union employee, in violation of 29 U.S.C. §§ 186(a) and (b); honest services fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343 and 1346; attempted extortion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951; conspiracy to commit structuring and money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; and money laundering by concealment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i).

    The investigation began with cooperation from individuals in the medical marijuana industry who reported Rush’s allegedly corrupt activities. According to the affidavit, the attorney with whom Rush was working has been cooperating with the FBI and has agreed to plead guilty to offenses related to the charges against Rush.

    Rush was originally charged by criminal complaint and arrested in Oakland on August 11, 2015, and made his initial appearance in federal court in Oakland on August 12, 2015. Rush was released on bond and bail was set at $500,000. Rush’s next scheduled appearance is September 23, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. for arraignment before the Honorable Kandis Westmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge, in Oakland. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Haywood S Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge, in Oakland.

    An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years if he is convicted of the charges of honest services fraud, attempted extortion, or money laundering, along with a fine as much as $500,000 and restitution if appropriate. If the defendant is convicted of accepting an illegal payment as a union employee or engaging in a criminal conspiracy, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

    The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco and investigated by the FBI.

    This content has been reproduced from its original source.

  2. This is not a government campaign against cannabis. Quite the opposite. The government is helping to regulate impropriety and protect the cannabis community from financially motivated tyrants. It is a blow to the community because Dan Rush had the ability to do amazing things for the cannabis industry.

  3. Donna Lambert on

    Board of Directors of the Campaign to “ReformCA” took a heavy hit today as a key player was indicted on Federal Fraud Charges.

    This group of people has long been associated with strong-arm tactics in their bid to control California’s marijuana market. It has been alleged throughout the industry that ASA’s self proclaimed “Marriage Partner” and others have used illegal tactics to gain this control.

    The Charges filed today are the result of a 4 year FBI Investigation into the Payoff and Money Laundering Schemes known in the Cannabis Industry as “Pay for Play”. According to the Federal Indictment, it appears the costs associated with opening a dispensary include more than half a million dollars in payoffs. The payoffs did not go to UFCW, which had no knowledge of or involvement in Mr. Rush’s activities. The payoffs went to Mr. Rush. This indictment is like throwing a stick of dynamite into ReformCa upcoming attempt to corner the pot market in 2016. They do this by writing legislation that creates a “Two-Tiered Restrictive Permitting Pot Monopoly” designed to make criminals out of cannabis consumers and growers. The goal is to continue the high prices and profits of prohibition and delivering the profits right back into the racket they control.

    The Indictment accuses Dan Rush of using Medical Marijuana Attorney Marc Terbeek to take payoffs and launder money from people who wanted to open marijuana stores. In exchange, Dan Rush (UFCW, ReformCA, ASA) offers to reject Union Endorsements to other applicants. But it goes way deeper than that. The FBI appears to have wiretaps of almost 50 payoffs to Dan Rush. The Indictment says there will be likely be more.

    Just as they are about to unveil their potentially destructive voter initiative to destroy prop 215, one board member may be going to prison for these activities, which many people allege are common throughout the industry. (Prop 215 is a medical marijuana voter iniative that allows sick and dying patients to cultivate their own plant matter). According to Emails sent to us, Dan Rush has openly called for the destruction of prop 215.

  4. This bull sucks – it does nothing to protect patients. Cities can zone out cultivation and possession if they choose, without violating Prop 215. This just puts the cities and counties rules into stone law. It’s too bad few in the community are speaking out about this obvious setback, just some activists who have been in this the long run. It’s too bad this blog is focused on Oregon and their harmful medical marijuana bill to notice California’s flawed bills themselves.

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