Former FBI and Detroit police informant known as “White Boy Rick,” launches weed brand

Richard Wershe Jr. is getting into the cannabis industry, and plans to use his new business endeavor to push social justice.

Wershe, a former FBI and Detroit police informant known as “White Boy Rick,” famously served more than three decades behind bars for a non-violent drug offense after being convicted in 1988 in Wayne County Circuit Court. Now 52, Wershe is believed to have served the longest prison sentence beginning as a juvenile for a non-violent drug offense. He was released from prison last year after serving 32 years and seven months.

Rick Wershe smells marijuana in the flower room at Pleasantrees in Harrison Township on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Wershe is partnering with the company and introducing his own brand of products.

Now Wershe is partnering with Pleasantrees cannabis company and is launching his own brand of products called “The 8th,” a reference to the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment of criminal defendants.

Wershe’s cannabis brand, which includes cannabis plants, T-shirts, concentrates and other products, is expected to launch this fall. The black T-shirts will feature two broken handcuffs and the words “White Boy Rick” on the front.

This comes as Eminem is slated to portray Wershe in an upcoming Starz television series by rapper 50 Cent. Wershe’s life also has been the focus of books, films and a Hollywood film starring Matthew McConaughey.

From left, Evan Williams, Jerome Crawford, director of legal operations and social equity for cannabis company Pleasantrees, and Rick Wershe in the dry room of the company's facility in Harrison Township on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.

Wershe says he hopes to raise awareness about the harshness of sentences for non-violent drug offenses, and use a substantial portion of his proceeds to help people who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses.

“It’s about being over-punished,” Wershe said. “How is it that a non-violent offender is punished more severely than a violent offender? That’s not equal justice under the law.”

He said he chose to partner with Pleasantrees because he likes the company’s social justice and social equity program. The company offers jobs to those recently released from prison who because they were wrongfully convicted or incarcerated under excessive sentences.

Rick Wershe aka "White Boy Rick" in the green room at Pleasantrees in Harrison Township on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 as he is getting into the cannabis business.

“Mr. Wershe was recently released from prison after serving over thirty-two years for non-violent drug offenses allegedly committed while he was a minor. As such, his life story, which has been the subject of several recent films and documentaries, is a prime example of the unduly harsh penalties levied against victims of the decades-long “War on Drugs” which was started by the Nixon Administration and further escalated in the Reagan Era,” said Pleasantrees company officials in a statement announcing the partnership.


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