Union Official High On Power Indicted For Extortion Of Marijuana Dispensaries

CALIFORNIA: Union official Daniel Rush was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly extorting cash and favors from marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, Calif.

Federal prosecutors told KRON-TV the charges include taking illegal payments as a union employee, honest services fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering. The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) has been at the forefront of organizing workers in the newly emerging marijuana industry. Rush served as the executive director of the UFCW cannabis division.

Rush was charged in August and was soon after fired from his position with UFCW. Rush allegedly used his influence to get cash or other benefits between 2010 and 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.