R.I.P.: Jack Herer, The Emperor Of Hemp


Photo: americancannabis.org
Jack Herer (1939-2010)

​Famous marijuana activist and author Jack Herer, “The Emperor of Hemp,” died Thursday morning at 11:07 Pacific time.
“Jack deserves kudos for having publicized the benefits of cannabis hemp in his classic book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” said Dale Gieringer of California NORML.
“He also labored long and hard on innumerable initiatives to re-legalize hemp in California,” Gieringer said.
Last September, Herer suffered a serious heart attack at the Portland Hempstalk Festival, just two minutes after giving his last, impassioned speech. He was taken from the site by ambulance and hospitalized, and had struggled with health problems since that time.
“No one has ever educated more people about hemp and cannabis than Jack Herer,” said Paul Stanford, organizer of Hempstalk. “Jack’s legacy will live on for generations to come.”
“I’ve known and been friends with Jack since 1982, and he wrote the first edition of his book in my home in 1985,” Stanford said. “I am going to miss you, Jack.”

Herer had already suffered a minor heart attack and a major stroke in July 2000, resulting in difficulties speaking and moving the right side of his body. He mostly recovered, and said in May 2004 that treatment with the psychoactive mushroom amanita muscaria was the secret.
When Herer’s seminal work The Emperor Wears No Clothes (which Jack later generously made available in its entirety online) was published in 1985, the book reframed the debate about cannabis/hemp in the U.S. and worldwide. (You can buy a paper copy here.)
A former Goldwater Republican, Herer became a pro-marijuana and hemp activist. In addition to the aforementioned The Emperor Wears No Clothes, he wrote another book (in a collaboration with Al Emmanuel), G.R.A.S.S.: Great Revolutionary American Standard System, which proposed a 1-10 rating system for pot potency and quality of high.
I bought this one at a headshop in Florence, Ala., back when I was about 20 and had no idea who Jack Herer was… I was just intrigued by the concept. Of course, when Jack got famous a few years later with Emperor, I knew his name sounded familiar.
The Emperor of Hemp, a documentary film about his life, was released in 1999.
Herer said that the hemp plant should be legalized because it has been shown to be a renewable source of fuel, food, and medicine, and can be grown in virtually any part of the world. He further averred that the U.S. government deliberately hides the proof of hemp’s usefulness, in collusion with certain chemical and paper financial interests.

Photo: jazminmillion
Jack Herer buds, showing the abundant trichomes for which they are famous

In a fitting tribute to this great man of ganja, Herer had a potent strain of marijuana named after him.
The Jack Herer strain is a cross between Skunk #1, Northern Lights #5 and Haze. It was named in honor of Jack Herer by Ben Dronkers, founder of the Sensi Seed Bank. The Jack Herer strain has sativa dominant characteristics, with a flowering time of up to 75 days. It is a very popular strain, winning the High Times Cannabis Cup several years running.
Jack Herer’s Last Speech