Dear Applicant: The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (Agency) considered your partial application for prequalification status and determined that you have prequalification status pursuant to the licensing provisions of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) and associated rules.

The most painful gift I ever received was when this license came in.

I went out of sight of my wife Dianne and cried; because I remember two brothers, who didn't weigh 190 pounds put together. Yes, we had scored a pound of weed 1966. In those days, it was a death penalty to inquire about buying narcotics — because if they thought you were a snitch...

There in the cold with heavy snow falling, there we stood as if we knew what we were doing. I'm 16, Benjamin 18, making a decision do or die because we knew we could have been robbed or just bigger, much larger men could take what we were trying to sell, from us.

To my surprise, I knew how seriously what we were doing was. Deadly serious. I had no idea Benji had acquired a gun, and I was in shock because Benji was always laid back and quiet (Still waters run deep).

One thing you must remember is that people that are in the drug business are not lazy. No snow days — you're out there 24/7. For some reason, we were given a pass by much bigger, older, stronger men and some were known killers. I guess as they say, game loves game and we were trying to enter the game at such a young age.

Once upon a time in America, I took my graduation picture money and gave it to Benji to invest in buying our first pound because I knew my then-girlfriend Dianne would be delivering our son Larry in 6 months. I had to make it without welfare or parents.

Benji always said, if we get busted don't worry, I'll do the time because you have a baby on the way. He probably took the bullet for me too, because I was with him when he got murdered. He had just dropped me off and told me for some reason not to go to work that day, take a break, so I planned to hang with him but he insisted that I go home 20 minutes later. While in his house painting a picture, he took a bullet to the back of his head.

Yes, from weed, his corporate promotion to heroin, cocaine, and Escobar, cost Benji his life. You see, he had become one of the big ones. Benji saved my life that night, and years earlier he save my life when he told me that I was out because he was graduating from weed to heroin. Plus, I was a journeyman tool & die maker, thanks to Edward H. Wahl, and his Father for hiring (G&W Tool & Die) an unlicensed pharmaceutical worker and giving me a chance to succeed in the legit world.

So now that weed is legit, I guess. The company will be run by my granddaughters Dianne, Hope, and Canon. The baby grandson Ben — whose competitiveness in life reminds me of myself — he'll take over other things.

To my big brother Benjamin, the store will be named after you … Benji's. Thank you, State of Michigan.

Benjamin, I wish you could have lasted, my share of the money will be given to the Benji's and Larry's of the Ghettos for Education. Benji, my life has been good and safe because of your sacrifice. No more Mongos should have to enter the gates of hell so we can eat. Easy spirit — I'll stay as square as I can and if my judgment day is guilty, I have no regrets.

Easy, Glen West Ford, Standley Stanley Bigdaddy Baker, Michael Cooley, Herbert Welch, 8 Mile Road Projects for Life. Thanks, W. O., our Arnold Rothstein.