White Boy Rick, falsely incarcerated for drug use, launches cannabis brand

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Richard Wershe Jr.’s unique background has led him to become a cannabis entrepreneur

In 1987, when Richard Wershe Jr., also known as “White Boy Rick,” was just 17 years old, he was sentenced to prison for cocaine possession after being used by the FBI as an informant in drug gangs for more than three years. His sentence came to an end last year after he spent more than three decades behind bars. Upon his release, he began to notice how the world has changed and how the issue of marijuana legalization took a 180-degree turn. That being the case, Wershe decided to enter the Michigan cannabis industry with his new brand, “The 8th.”

Wershe named his brand this way as it has a double meaning. It refers to both a standard measure for marijuana and the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment. By this, he implies that his own incarceration was one of the many exceptions to that amendment. “I had encountered people in prison who were serving life sentences for marijuana, and now it’s legal,” Wershe tells Metro Times. “So doesn’t that tell you how crazy our drug laws are?”

Referring to the war on drugs as “the biggest farce that ever existed in America,” Wershe now wants to do his bit and plans to fight as he wishes many would have fought for him. To that end, he has also filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Detroit Police for $100 million, arguing that he would never have had any involvement with drugs had it not been for the influence of these agencies.

To bring his new brand to fruition, Wershe has partnered with Pleasantrees Cannabis Company to provide the flower, including an undisclosed flagship strain. Wershe has become one of the most relevant people in the toll of the war on drugs, so much so that Eminem will play him in an upcoming Starz series.