Richard Wershe Jr., formerly known as ‘White Boy Rick,’ launches ‘The 8th’ cannabis brand

Wershe, Pleasantrees company team up to launch brand, donate proceeds to wrongfully imprisoned drug offenders

Richard Wershe Jr., formerly known as "White Boy Rick," is teaming up with Michigan-based company Pleasantrees to launch a cannabis brand called "The 8th." Photo of the company's packaging provided by The Bee Agency. (The 8th)

More than one year after his prison release, Richard Wershe Jr., formerly known as “White Boy Rick,” is launching a cannabis brand.

Teaming up with Michigan-based company Pleasantrees, Wershe is launching a cannabis brand called “The 8th” -- named to reference the 8th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments toward criminal defendants.

Wershe served 32 years in prison for drug offenses. Locked up at 17 years old, he is the longest-serving nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history.

The man was initially sentenced to life in prison, but instead earned his parole in 2017. He was released in July 2020.

Related: Richard Wershe says ‘White Boy Rick’ is dead, hopes for new life outside prison

At age 14, Wershe became the youngest FBI informant ever, and helped bring down some of Detroit’s biggest drug dealers. But then he became a drug dealer himself and ended up in prison for three decades.

One year after his release, Wershe filed a lawsuit against the FBI and Detroit police -- those responsible for imprisoning him -- accusing them of child abuse. The $100 million lawsuit claims Wershe was coerced into assisting police while he was an unsuspecting teen.

“Having worked undercover for the FBI and Detroit Police starting as a child at the tender age of 14, Wershe is the youngest FBI informant in this history of this nation,” reads a statement from attorneys representing Wershe at Ayad Law, PLLC. “The government used Wershe as a child from age 14 to 16, putting him amongst gangsters, killers, drug dealers and thrust him into the world of drug trafficking, and then all turned on him to cover up the illegal and embarrassing nature of their conduct.”

The 8th is launching this weekend with flower and branded clothing products, which will be sold in-store at Pleasantrees retail locations. Wershe and Pleasantrees will “dedicate a substantial portion of sales proceeds toward the release of wrongfully or excessively imprisoned drug offenders,” a press release reads.

The brand’s slogan is “Time is Money.”

More reading

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.