ReformCa’s Director Charged with taking Bribes from Pot Dispensaries, Feds Say


Reform California Attempting to Control the Pot Market by Eliminating Competition

Click here to read the full indictment


Reform California's Dan Rush Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges

Dan Rush

The Complaint alleges that $600,000 was transferred to Dan Rush to be able to open a dispensary in Oakland.

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.


Dan Rush Arrested

Quote from the above email:

“Talking about preserving Prop 215 and the AG guidelines is as self destructive and ridiculous as as trying to keep your cancer alive…
If you want to THRIVE JOIN THE UNION and ASA.”
The entire “OVER – RESTRICT, OVER-REGULATE” pushed by the board members, (which include Don Duncan – Director of Americans for Safe Access) has created a dangerous combination of payoffs, threats, and other subversive activities.  This has been occurring for many years. The high prices of marijuana are due to the costs and risks associated with prohibition. Allegedly, this group of people seeks to corner the market by eliminating competition and exerting pressure and control on patients, collectives and business people.  Some activists accuse them of trying to eliminate competition and destroy prop 215 so that people are forced to buy tiny amounts of plant matter from them at prohibition prices.  Welcome to California’s 2016 election cycle.

Dan Rush Arrested Partner of Don Duncan

Dan Rush is the "Marriage Partner" to a group calling itself "Americans for Safe Access"

Dan Rush is the “Marriage Partner” to a group calling itself “Americans for Safe Access”


 Check back hourly on this same link for more updates and connection in this developing story.  According the indictment there may be more arrests and more charges forthcoming.



Are Those The Hoofbeats of a Trojan Horse I Hear



14 comments for “ReformCa’s Director Charged with taking Bribes from Pot Dispensaries, Feds Say

  1. August 13, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    The lack of accountability from the reform coalition heads to the membership caused this to simmer to a boil in the background. I asked about Dan Rush in 2013 out of lack of trust there was anything there to collaborate with with no answer other than “we need the Union”. Clearly, we didn’t.

  2. Letitia Pepper
    August 14, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Many of the people involved in ReformCA were also involved in the dishonest, deceptive efforts to persuade medical marijuana patients that they would NOT be affected if Prop. 19 passed.
    Nothing could have been further from the truth. The Prop. 19 people saw medical marijuana patients as a potentially lucrative and desperate captive market, who would be forced to buy cannabis at prohibition prices once it passed, OR face prosecution under the new laws Prop. 19 would have ushered in to support its investors’ oligopolies.
    The long-term, greedy and dishonest behavior of this ReformCA board member is in perfect alignment with the “values” of the other Prop. 19 folks who sit on its board. I wonder if any other of its members were ever in a position to accept or pay out kick-backs in connection with the licensing of dispensaries or the creation of local oligopolies like the Prop. D cabal in Los Angeles.
    Not long ago, I showed a friend a photograph of members of ReformCA meeting with a well-known Mexican ex-government-official to join forces for “drug reform.” She looked at it and said, with a smile, “Wow. Look at that. . . . the Mexican mafia meets up with the Dutch Mafia for a photo op!”
    It’s all about the money — YOUR money going into THEIR pockets . . . .

    • August 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Doug here, Long time activist here in Bakersfield, CA. I worked on prop 215 and long before that with Bakersfield NORML. We have good local acceptance of cannabis. But only with a fight. and we continue to fight! Locally we were the 7th county in the state to have an ordinance allowing for collectives to operate. We have always sided with the people. We opposed prop 19 and we opposed Washington states 502 and in the so-called, “legalization” in Colorado! … Because those laws were not, “small steps”, to legalization, but to corporate corruption, it is important to support laws for all people. And not a select few.
      People need to work without drug testing and fear from losing their job because the use cannabis when the get off work. and no mother should lose their children for cannabis use. prop 215 was for the people and we need just a few changes..or no changes, because the fight has been so long to give up liberty.
      Thank you so much for your activism for the people.

  3. August 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

    While innocent unless proven guilty, it is sadly true that any group including more than you and me has people who vary from honest to not even a little honest. If sociopathic, they are likely charming, bright, manipulative; in other words, successful politicians who rise in the ranks. Ironic.

  4. 510Confidential
    August 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    A bunch of crooks all turning on each other to try and stay out of jail. Derek Peterson is one of the worst and shadiest characters of all. He is more slippery than soap. Anything this guy touches has gone Bk (remember his scheme with the illegal rolling pot trailers a few years ago!) and he keeps stealing from people – maybe SEC will indict him for what he has done with TerraTech stock manipulations. Will be interesting to see who Dan Rush takes down to try and cut his jail time.

  5. OaklandGreen
    August 15, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Derek Perterson statement. What a fraudster and liar! The indictment said he was involved in bribes to Rush. He knew Rush for years and was paying him already with money of things of value before any of this happened.

    Bet FBI was tracking for a long time and realized the loan forgiveness deal was to happen or was agreed to – and nailed these guys forcing them to cooperate and wear wires. Interesting that indictment said Kaufman would not be prosecuted, said nothing about Peterson.

    I’d be looking for witness protection program if I were them!

    “It was important for me to make clear to the community our involvement in the recent news reports about Dan Rush. After I met Mr. Rush it was apparent the he was using his position as an executive with the UFCW to personally monetize his activities. As a company we have always stood for transparency, accountability and fair permitting processes. Bad actors exist in all industries and ours is no exception. The federal government has given the cannabis industry latitude to mature and corruption of any kind does not help our progression,” stated Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech. “Once we became aware of Mr. Rush’s misconduct we consulted with the Department of Justice and under the guidance and direction of the FBI we assisted in their investigation. In partnership with the FBI we were able to use money misappropriated from Mr. Kaufmans trust as the subject in a corruption sting. We have worked hard to bring legitimacy to our often misunderstood sector and we hope that the activities of one individual don’t become representative of the industry in whole.”

  6. Dennis Hinze
    August 17, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Pebbles~ May I suggest that we start an email list of patients who may be interested in doing some contact work with California legislators to counter these restrictive efforts by ASA and others? For many years, I contributed to ASA, DPA & MPP, and now it looks like they have gone off to support the restrictions. ~ Please oppose AB266 ~ My hearing is so bad, I do not do well in conversation, but I can speak, and I look good in a suit. ~ So can we get together and do something? I know my Assembly member, Brian Dahle, and he knows me and my support for medical marijuana. ~ So can we get some more people together to oppose the neo-prohibitionists? What do you think? ????

    • August 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Thank you Dennis for reaching out. I’d love to do an email thread as you suggest, since that would articulate the policies we are proposing instead of those that have squeezed the loop so tight, it appears that SB420 is dying, depriving us of our right to collectively and cooperatively associate for non-commercial purposes. Once we have our alternative suggestions, we can lobby in Sac with authority. One point you’ve missed is that EGA is the group most of us are getting behind, but they are overwhelmed with the standards & talking heads that are already entrenched and need our back up.

  7. August 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I have always wanted to start a union of workers in a grassroots movement where we all are protected from federal prosecution.
    One that keeps the interest of mom and pops and small local farms collectively farming to support the masses, not some monsanto/corporate power grab that leaves people who have been dependent upon this for decades high and dry when we all decide to go legal.

  8. AJ
    August 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I hope this story finds some traction. This industry could be great for EVERYONE: the *good* business owners (like me), the patients we serve, and the agencies to which we pay EXORBITANT taxes.

    Break the monopolies. Stop PAY FOR PLAY. Let companies compete by providing good services to legal patients.

  9. Rev. Randy Hurley
    August 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Awareness Compassion are sorely In disregard. Only paths to power, politics, monetary positions are the intentions riding on the good faith of the California Proposition have been surfacing marring our common effort.
    Consciousness in Action will showcase the collective journey in the light of transparency. Our representing “leadership” are displaying to. All evolution of what?

  10. September 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Because a tainted voice is no voice at all!

    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.

    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.

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