Jack Herer is the emperor of hemp. Herer was instrumental in the legal cannabis movement and his name and legacy is known and loved throughout the US hemp sector.
If you don’t know Jack Herer, you don’t know jack about hemp. But don‘t worry, as everyone has to start somewhere, so let’s learn more about this amazing man and his work with hemp and cannabis.
Who Was Jack Herer?
By all accounts, Jack Herer was a brilliant man. He was passionate, intelligent, curious, and devoted to intellectual pursuits. He wanted to create a better world and he believed that legalizing hemp and cannabis would play a big role in that.
Born in Buffalo, NY, in 1939, the man that would later become known as the country’s most impassioned hemp activist began life as a pro-war, anti-drug Republican. He is said to have threatened to divorce his first wife after discovering that she had smoked pot.
Herer spent time in the military during the Korean war and eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, where he tried pot for the first time. He was in his late-20s at the time and as he moved into his thirties, he began to devour literature on cannabis and hemp and became an advocate for the legalization movement.
The Emperor of Hemp
In 1985, Jack Herer published The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which was compiled over many years. The book advocates for the legalization of cannabis and dares anyone to disprove its claims that hemp can change the world. It highlights the many industrial uses of hemp and the medicinal uses of cannabis, arguing that the government is hiding these benefits from its citizens.
A documentary of the same name was made about Herer and broadcast by PBS, thus earning him the moniker “The Emperor of Hemp”.
After discovering cannabis and compiling The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Herer spent a lot of time giving speeches and writing articles on the benefits of hemp and cannabis, as well as the so-called government cover-ups.
The cannabis strain “Jack Herer” was created in his honor by Sensi Seeds, and it has since become one of the most famous strains in the US, winning numerous awards.
Jack Herer was also inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame, which was created in 1997 by the editor of High Times, Steven Hager. There is a single entry every year, with Herer’s coming in 2003. Other inductees have included Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Cheech & Chong, the Grateful Dead, and Steven Hager himself.
How Did Jack Herer Die?
In the summer of 2000, Herer suffered a major stroke. Initially, it impacted his speech and limited his movement, but he eventually recovered. Several years later, he credited his recovery to magic mushrooms in a way that only Jack Herer could.
Unfortunately, Herer was struck down by a major heart attack in September 2009. He had just given a speech at the Portland Hempstalk Festival, before he collapsed backstage. He never fully recovered from this incident, with the people who visited him in the hospital saying that he responded to their voices but didn’t communicate with them.
Jack passed away 7 months later from complications relating to his 2009 heart attack.
Jack Herer was 70-years-old when he died. His death was mourned by generations of hemp and cannabis smokers and even 10+ years later, he is still considered to be one of the most important activists in US history.