Even as a Detroit teen, Richard Wershe Jr., aka "White Boy Rick," had the entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately, the product he sold -- cocaine -- cost him his freedom for three decades.
Now Wershe, who was released from prison last year and is off parole, is returning to drug sales -- the now-legal cannabis industry. The 52-year-old is launching his own brand, reports Lee DeVito of Metro Times:
He’s calling his new brand “The 8th,” a double entendre that both refers to a standard measurement for pot but also to the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment — a pointed reference to his own imprisonment, and those of many others.
“I had run into people in prison that were doing 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?”
Partial proceeds from the business will go toward releasing others wrongfully or excessively imprisoned for drug offenses, the tells the paper
For The 8th, Wershe is partnering with the Michigan-based Pleasantrees Cannabis Company to provide the flower, including a yet-to-be-revealed flagship strain. The brand will also sell items like concentrates, vape batteries, and merch like T-shirts and jackets. But the partnership came together because Wershe says he liked their social equity plans, though other cannabis companies had approached him as well.
Before his release, Wershe was the subject of a documentary and a film starring Matthew McConaughey, who played Wershe's father.
Since his release, he's enjoyed celebrity status in Metro Detroit -- attending Kwame Kilpatrick's wedding reception and political fundraisers.
-- Allan Lengel