Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” the Michigan man who was sentenced to prison in 1987 for cocaine possession after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had used him as an informant to gain access to drug gangs since he was 14-years-old, is launching his own cannabis brand, the Detroit Metro Times reports. He is calling the brand “The 8th” referring to the unit of measurement for cannabis and also the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Wershe was released from prison last year for good behavior. His sentence—which was initially life—is the longest for a nonviolent juvenile in Michigan history.
“I had run into people in prison that were doing life sentences for marijuana, and now it’s legal. So doesn’t that tell you how crazy our drug laws are?”—Wershe to the Metro Times
Wershe is currently suing the FBI and Detroit Police Department for $100 million arguing that he would have never ended up in the drug trade—or involved with drugs—if not for his recruitment by law enforcement.
Wershe is partnering with the Michigan-based Pleasantrees Cannabis Company to provide the flower. The 8th will also sell concentrates, vape batteries, and clothing. Wershe said he decided to partner with Pleasantrees due, in part, to their commitment to social justice.
Jerome Crawford, the director of legal operations and social equity at Pleasantrees, said that Wershe “has become the poster child for what it means to be over-criminalized and prosecuted for drugs.”
“The War on Drugs is really a war on people in impoverished communities, especially Black and brown communities,” Crawford said in an interview with the Metro Times.
Crawford added the company’s social equity plans include creating opportunities for previously incarcerated people by hiring them and helping them obtain an education, working on legislation, and funding charity initiatives in the communities it works in.
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