White Boy Rick’s Transformation From Teen FBI Informant to Selling Legal Pot

Former teen Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant and former prisoner Richard Wershe Jr.—known as “White Boy Rick”—spent 32 years of a life sentence for cocaine possession. Within weeks after being freed, Wershe teamed up with cannabis producer Pleasantrees to launch a brand called The 8th.

Anyone who has seen 2018’s White Boy Rick starring Matthew McConaughey knows the story: When Wershe was 14, he became an informant for the FBI—being forced to snitch on upper-level drug lords. He was the youngest FBI informant in U.S. history

In the thick of the crack epidemic during the mid-80s, Wershe became deeply involved in the underbelly of the world of organized crime. Even though the FBI pushed him into that world working as an informant, Wershe was busted at age 17 for having eight kilos of cocaine.

“I took money that they gave me to buy drugs, I then took those drugs and sold them,” Wershe told VICE. “They taught me to be a drug dealer and I became a drug dealer.” 

Wershe was slapped with a life sentence in 1988 despite being under 18 years old. 

White Boy Rick’s New Life

Wershe—now 52—spent his entire adult life in prison, missing out on spending time with his dying father, among other events. He was finally released on good behavior from a halfway-house prison facility in Florida in July. On July 19, at 10:30 a.m., Wershe was picked up by his fiancée.

Wershe filed a $100 million lawsuit against former FBI agents and prosecutors—alleging child abuse in connection with his time spent as an informant. As a 14-16-year-old at the time of his informant days, he just might have a solid case.

He alleges that the only reason he got involved in cocaine sales was because the FBI coerced him into doing it. He claims drug lords attempted to assassinate him, on one occasion.

Wershe is finally free, and didn’t waste any time teaming up with Michigan-based producer Pleasantrees Cannabis Company to launch a brand called The 8th. The 8th is symbolic of both an eighth of weed and the Eighth Amendment—which in theory supposedly protects Americans against “cruel and unusual punishments.” Wershe obviously wasn’t a recipient of those protections, but he hopes to spread awareness about inhumane cases such as his own. The 8th will launch this fall, and will feature cannabis accessories and other products. 

Wershe pointed out that life sentence for pot-related crimes are just as insane. “I’ve met people in federal prison doing life sentences for marijuana. I mean, it was tonnes, but you know it was still a plant. Life for a cannabis crime was a bit harsh.” 

“I think we could release 50 percent of the people in our prison system and it wouldn’t make society any more dangerous because over 50 percent are non-violent offenders.” 

Wershe does not in fact smoke weed, but strongly believes that the criminalization of drugs in America is corrupt, uninformed, and laws need to be changed so that people aren’t locked up in prison for nonviolent crimes.

He also said that big pharmaceutical companies are the real cartels. While ongoing lawsuits are fixing some of the problem, the people responsible for synthetic opioid deaths walk free, while a mid-level teen who sold cocaine had to spend his adult life in prison. “There’s been 500,000 deaths, $27 billion in fines. And not one person has been incarcerated,” He added.

The post White Boy Rick’s Transformation From Teen FBI Informant to Selling Legal Pot appeared first on High Times.

Nevada Cannabis Licenses are Being Federally Investigated

Nevada industry players have been getting interviewed by the FBI over the cannabis licensing process. 

The investigation is to see if any people or businesses tried to bribe politicians or other government officials in any way to obtain licenses to operate. Since 2016, recreational cannabis has been legal in Nevada, and there has been controversy over the process the entire time. Applicants who didn’t get licenses have brought corruption charges against those who are in business, and there has been discussion about the cannabis companies associated with politicians and business leaders, and whether they obtained their licenses ethically. 

So far, the state has given out more than 750 licenses for all parts of the industry. A total of 335 of those are dual licenses for medical and recreational providers. 

“My gut told me, and our Spidey sense is telling us, there is a lot of ‘pay to play,’” Chad Christensen, a former legislator and co-owner of Pisos Dispensary in Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review Journal. He is one of the concerned individuals who came forth and chatted with the FBI. At least two other anonymous sources have been interviewed as well. 

On February 18, 2020, the investigation became official, as Nevada’s attorney general was notified about the investigation. 

“I don’t comment on investigations and am not authorized to do that,” FBI agent Matt Edwards said when questioned by the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I’m not going to have any conversation about FBI investigations.”

“It’s all about public trust and confidence,” said Tyler Klimas of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board. “As regulators of the state’s cannabis industry, it’s imperative that we work with our federal partners to ensure that trust and confidence extends outside of our borders and prevents any actions that could damage the state’s reputation or harm the industry.”

Further controversy following the original scandal surfaced in 2018 when 64 new licenses became available. The Nevada Department of Taxation allegedly received more than 460 applications total from 127 different groups and people who were interested in getting involved in the industry. However, only 17 of those applicants received all 64 of those licenses. This brought about an even bigger lawsuit that was called “World War Weed” by some industry insiders. It has now been elevated to the Nevada Supreme Court. 

In 2019, to try and get some of the controversy to die down, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board was established to potentially take over the licensing process in the future from the  Gaming Control Board, who had previously been in control. The  idea behind this move was to try and eliminate further controversy and show that new, unbiased people were being put in charge. The board was responsible for issuing permits for consumption lounges as well, and the hope was to make licenses for growers, manufacturers, and retail businesses more available and accessible. 

However, they were not successful in mitigating controversy, as FBI agents began their investigation in 2020. They interviewed a source as recently as this past April about the “pay to play” nature of cannabis in Nevada. 

“They were interested in talking about all licensing issues from a year ago plus,” the anonymous source said regarding the allegation and the investigation, when asked by the Las Vegas Review Journal what the nature of the investigation was. 

According to sources, the FBI didn’t ask about politicians, but asked a lot of questions about the former taxation department deputy director Jorge Pupo, who was put on leave in 2019 and seems to be a person of interest when it comes to the FBI investigation. 

Currently, the FBI is being silent about the investigation and when it may come to an end, but one thing is clear—they are taking these claims of corruption very seriously.

The post Nevada Cannabis Licenses are Being Federally Investigated appeared first on High Times.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// FBI probing potential public corruption in California capital’s marijuana industry (Marijuana Business Daily)

// California Governor Signs Marijuana Tax Fairness Bill But Vetoes Cannabis In Hospitals (Forbes)

// Colorado marijuana regulators finalizing ban on certain additives in cannabis vape products (Denver Post)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 100,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// What glut? Cannabis prices rise as oversupply worries ease (Mail Tribune)

// On-site smoking of marijuana one step closer after Anchorage Assembly kicks questions to voters (Anchorage Daily News)

// Vape shops closing in response to Oregon’s temporary ban on flavored vaping products (KATU 2 News)

// Vermont farm offering pick-your-own hemp experience (My NBC 5)

// Jurors revolt, refuse to consider felony charges for cannabis (Leafly)

// Pesticide maker bans its own product due to cannabis stigma (Leafly)

// Scotland’s Ruling Party Unanimously Backs Drug Decriminalization Measure (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Rameen/Flickr

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Arrests Increased Again Last Year Despite More States Legalizing, FBI Data Shows (Forbes)

// Lawmaker says Pennsylvania should sell marijuana at state stores (ABC 27 News)

// Congressional Bill Would Protect Students From Losing Financial Aid Over Drug Convictions (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 150,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// The vaping crisis won’t bring down pot stocks: Raymond James (CanTech Letter)

// Chart: Marijuana vape sales rebounding in some key markets – for now (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Poll suggests Californians want more adult-use marijuana stores (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Nevada governor names head of new cannabis regulatory panel (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Indianapolis Will Stop Prosecuting Minor Pot Crimes Immediately (Merry Jane)

// NJ Announces First Vaping-Related Death in State (NBC 10 Philadelphia)

// Michigan roadside drug testing pilot program expands to all counties (Michigan Live)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Rulenumberone2/Flickr

Monday, August 19, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, August 19, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Illicit Cannabis Vape Carts Hospitalized 7 in California Doctors Say (Leafly)

// ‘I feel lucky for real’: How legalizing hemp accidentally helped marijuana suspects (NBC News)

// FBI investigating possible corruption in US cannabis industry (Marijuana Business Daily)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at McCabe Law LLC of Portland Maine, which is partnering with the Climate Resources Group to throw a series of cannabis seminars starting Tuesday, August 20th, and running every 20th of the month through October. Attendees will get the straight scoop on the best way to get started in Maine’s legal cannabis industry. Find out more and purchase your own ticket at https://www.mccabelawllc.com/seminars.html.


// Marijuana giant Harvest agrees to relinquish two dispensary permits after Pennsylvania probe (Philadelphia Inquirer)

// Ex-Cop is First Individual Licensed to Sell Medical Cannabis in Canada (Leafly)

// Barbados latest Caribbean country to propose sweeping medical cannabis law (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canopy executive compensation surges to $28.5 million following pot legalization (BNN Bloomberg)

// Texas School District Will Now Expel Any Student Caught with a THC Vape Pen (Merry Jane)

// Second manufacturer joins Iowa’s medical marijuana program (KPVI 6 NBC)

// Whitefield Farmers Test New Market with Pick-Your-Own Hemp Fields (Lincoln County News)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Chris H/Flickr