Few people did more for cannabis than legendary advocate Jack Herer. During his life, Herer championed marijuana as medicine, hemp as an industrial super crop, and authored one of the most seminal texts on the cannabis plant: “The Emperor Wears no Clothes.”
Jack is no longer with us, but his legacy lives on through the work he left behind, and in the name of one of the skunkiest cannabis strains ever bred. Let’s take a look at the life of this fascinating human. Just who is Jack Herer?
Portrait of a Young Jack Herer
The man who would later become known as “The Hemperor” was born in 1939 in New York City. Seventeen years later, Herer left home and enlisted in the military. He served as a military policeman in South Korea in the time proceeding the Korean War. In the Army, young Jack developed a conservative ethos and jingoistic devotion to the “American Way of Life.”
At the end of his service, Herer moved to California, taking a job with a sign maintenance company. He settled down in San Fernando Valley, where he lived the quintessential American experience – married, had three children, went to work every day in a tie.
It was the sixties, and the hippie counterculture movement was in full swing on the West Coast. At the time, Jack found them distasteful. He himself was a Goldwater Republican and staunch cannabis prohibitionist.
It wasn’t until he was thirty years old and divorced that The Godfather of Hemp would first experiment with Marijuana to impress a new girlfriend. It was love at first toke, and that day would change Jack Herer’s life forever.
Jack Herer the Man, the Myth, the Legend
Jack’s first marijuana experience had wholeheartedly sold him on the plant, and he became a regular consumer smoking a self-reported four joints a day. Pretty soon into his cannabis career, Jack discovered that almost everything he’d been taught about the plant had been a complete fabrication.
Blending in with the many carnival barkers and buskers, Herer would attempt to educate the endless throngs of passersby on the Venice Beach Boardwalk about the truth behind cannabis prohibition, and he even campaigned to get marijuana legalization on the ballot. He printed zines filled with pertinent cannabis info and started a small headshop right there on the boardwalk.
After being arrested at a demonstration on an obscure legal technicality, Herer was sentenced to thirty days in jail – the first of many run-ins with the law. While serving his sentence, Jack scrawled what would become the first draft of his monumental contribution to cannabis – his book “The Emperor Wears no Clothes.” The book would go on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies and expose many to the realities behind cannabis prohibition for the first time.
Jack Herer would continue to fervently advocate for marijuana and hemp for nearly thirty more years before succumbing to a heart attack after giving one final rousing speech at the Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon, in 2010.
The Jack Herer Name Strain of Cannabis
In a fitting tribute for a man who dedicated his life to the cannabis plant, Herer’s name lives on in the Jack Herer strain of marijuana. The strain was originally developed in the Netherlands in the mid-’90s and has been a staple among connoisseurs ever since. Jack Herer bud has a reputation for having a pungent piney aroma and for producing cerebral yet clear-headed effects in consumers.
Is Jack Herer Indica or Sativa?
Jack Herer cannabis is a hybrid but leans more towards the Sativa side of the spectrum. Most phenotypes are incredibly potent, and users can expect a blissful experience that is perfect for inspiring creativity.
The Spirit of Jack Herer
Mr. Jack Herer wore a lot of hats in his seventy years on this Earth. He was a veteran, an author, an activist, a politician, a street preacher, and perhaps the most well-known cannabis enthusiast to ever rip the bong.
Eleven years after his death, cannabis is closer than ever to becoming a mainstream crop. Hemp has been federally decriminalized, more states have recreational marijuana, and almost every state has some sort of medical marijuana program. The progress we’ve seen in the last decade was built on the foundation laid by activists like Jack Herer, who tirelessly fought to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis and expose the motivations behind prohibition.