EAST LANSING, Mich. — From prison to owning his own cannabis brand, Rick Wershe Jr., known to many as “White Boy Rick,” is partnering with the Michigan cannabis retailer Pleasantrees in East Lansing.
“We created the brand for, as I call it, the forgotten ones,” Detroiter Rick Wershe said.
At the age of 17, Rick Wershe was convicted for possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to life in prison making him the longest serving non-violent drug offender in Michigan, and indirectly earning him the nickname White Boy Rick.
“Now, we can't change the past. We can't get the time back that we lost. But from here on, we can do positive things in our community, and help people that no one else helps,” Wershe said.
Helping the ones that have been wrongfully incarcerated is the purpose behind his new cannabis brand called “The 8th,” referring to the 8th amendment.
“Your 8th amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment, or excessive fines,” he said.
Together with Pleasantrees he is committed to helping those who have been incarcerated get back on their feet.
“It really wasn't a war on drugs. It was a war on people or poverty,” Wershe said. “A young man reached out to me the other day. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but he was fined $100,000. How is he going to pay that? Nine times out of 10, they're going to push him back into crime.”
The slogan “Time is Money” acknowledges the damages someone suffers from being in prison.
“All these folks that have been over criminalized over prosecuted, you've taken their time away,” said Jerome Crawford, the Director of Legal Operations and Social Equity at Pleasantrees.
According to Wershe, all the products in his cannabis line have been grown and safety-tested in Michigan. They can now be purchased at any Pleasantree location.
“The strains that we have out right now under my brand, our MAC 1, which is a OG strain. It's a real good strain that people love. (…) Down the line, we'll come up with edibles, we'll come out with some cartridges,” Wershe said.
Wershe said, if you don’t smoke but want to support the cause t-shirts are also for sale.
“Kids don't belong in prison, they belong in college, they belong in school.”
To learn more about The 8th visit their website.
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