"Dr. Reefer" released from Prison, Quits Pot Business - 8 News NOW

"Dr. Reefer" released from Prison, Quits Pot Business

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LAS VEGAS -- The man who is the self proclaimed doctor of marijuana is speaking for the first time since being released from federal prison. Pierre Werner, better known as "Doctor Reefer" said he's retiring from the business.

Werner is now a free man after serving just 18 of his 41 month sentence. He completed a drug program and was given three years supervised release.

The experience in prison has changed his outlook on pot.

"What happened to me can happen to anybody and I really got lucky that my sentence was only 41 months," Werner said. "It's ending for me, it is time for somebody else to pick up the fight."

For years, Werner was the face of anything marijuana related. He created a business helping people get medical marijuana cards and set up dispensaries.

Werner flaunted his medical marijuana use, even lighting up during an 8 News NOW interview in 2009, exclaiming he was "smoking mad."

That happened several of his Dr. Reefer billboards were taken down around Las Vegas, Werner says he was targeted by a federal investigation, partly because of the high profile nature of  his marijuana use.

Werner was later convicted on drug charges stemming from an undercover sting at his marijuana dispensary.

Authorities would raid over a dozen other dispensaries shutting them all down across town.

"Being charged in federal court over a sale of 3.5 grams is ridiculous, I was targeted because of the billboards, because I legalized so many people and because they couldn't throw those people into jail," Werner said.

The ex-con said it's too risky to get back into the marijuana business now.

"No, ‘Dr. Reefer' will not be getting into the dispensary business," Werner said. "The only way I would get into the dispensary business is if it was legal under federal law."

Nevada has passed new laws since his conviction and is on the verge of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop, which is the crime Werner was jailed for.

While medical marijuana is legal with all the proper paperwork in Nevada, it's against the law at the federal level.

"If you do open a dispensary, you should go in with the mindset that you could be doing 20 years in federal prison and that is a reality," Werner added.

"Dr. Reefer" is going back to being Pierre Werner. Some of the billboards are still up and that's because the business will live on under new management.

Werner added it'll be tough to let go of the persona and the name, but it was fun while it lasted.

"I don't know that it is about the Dr. Reefer name, that is so sexy that everybody remembers it, and you know its reefer madness," Werner said.

Regarding Nevada's recently passed pot laws, Werner said he likes certain parts of the new marijuana legislation in Nevada. He wishes there were fewer regulations.

Werner said he learned a lot from the Dr. Reefer name and wants to put his skills of branding and marketing to good use.

He's started an online marketing business called Dr. PageRank.

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