For someone with a sought-after strain named after him, Jack Herer must have been pretty involved in the weed world. “Pretty involved” is an understatement. We’re talking about a man who ran for President twice while urging the California government to legalize hemp and expose its benefits to the public once and for all.
Jack Herer was a legend, and his equally legendary strain is a pleasure to smoke. Learn more about this West Coast cannabis icon and his legacy below.
Born June 18, 1939, Jack Herer was the youngest of three siblings raised in Buffalo. After dropping out of high school and serving as a military police officer in the Korean War, he started his career as a sign painter.
Six feet tall and 230 pounds, Jack Herer had a larger-than-life personality and the wit to back it up. He eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1967 with his wife and three children. That, my friends, is where his cannabis activism began. He was 30 years old when he smoked his first joint, and that one session changed cannabis activism in North America as we know it.
In 1973, Jack decided to get into politics and rally for the legalization of hemp in California. That same year, he opened his first headshop for cannabis accessories and paraphernalia. He, alongside headshop owner Ed Adair, banded together to create the political joint-smoking team Reefer Raiders.
Reefer Raiders would loiter in Westwood near the federal building while sparking up joints and getting some wanted yet unwanted attention from authorities. In 1981, Jack Herer was gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize hemp in the golden state but was arrested for trespassing on federal property and was sent to jail.
At the time, Herer also had his second headshop, dubbed Van Nuys, which was raided by the feds in 1983. The cops ended up fining Herer $1500 while confiscating 6000 products.
While in jail in 1981, Herer began writing a book that would change the landscape for hemp legalization in America and put him on top as the Emperor of Hemp.
His self-published book The Emperor Wears No Clothes was inspired by the 1839 tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. The original book discusses a famed and arrogant emperor with an expensive habit of buying new clothes. Herer‘s hemp-focused spin-off emphasized how we shouldn’t let pride, vanity, ego, and fear stop us from advocating for what’s right, like cannabis legalization.
When writing the book, Herer visited the Library of Congress and gathered as much information as possible regarding the benefits of hemp and how the government would hide them from the public. After all, hemp was criminalized in 1937, only two years before Herer was born.
The Emperor Wears No Clothes took off. It launched Jack Herer‘s political career and placed him on the throne as the leader of the hemp movement. He was often referred to as the Emperor Of Hemp. The book also discusses how valuable hemp crops can be for fiber, paper, food, fuel, and much-needed medicine.
The Emperor Wears No Clothes has been in print since it was published in 1985. In 2020, it was on its fourteenth edition, showing no signs of slowing down or losing popularity over 35 years.
Jack founded and served as the director of his organization called Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP).
In 1987, Jack Herer opened his third headshop, Third Eye Shoppe, in Portland, Oregon. In 2001, his son took over operations at the headshop until it sadly closed on March 31, 2017.
Interestingly enough, Herer was so passionate about politics and making positive change that he ran for President of the United States not once but twice as the Grassroots Party candidate. His first time running in 1988 landed him 1,949 votes. By his second run in 1992, Herer nearly doubled his votes to 3,875.
At a BioFach trade show in July 2000, Herer suffered a minor heart attack and a major stroke. He was unable to speak and move the right side of his body but made a good recovery with help from the psychoactive mushroom Amanita muscaria, which he praised as the secret to health and well-being.
In September 2009, Herer was at the Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon, when he suffered his second heart attack. Due to complications, he passed away on April 15, 2010, at 70 years old.
Anyone who smokes Jack Herer will tell you that it’s one hell of a ride. Although its THC content is rather low, generally at 18%, this strain is loaded with terpenes and crosses other legendary cultivars like Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk.
This powerhouse Sativa strain can be recognized by its unique flavor and aroma. It’s an earthy strain with aromatic notes of pine, wood, and flowers. Its taste is equally as delightful.
Originally bred by Sensi Seeds, many other growers have cultivated their own version of the Jack Herer strain, but they’re all relatively similar regarding potency, terpene content, flavor, and aroma. The effects of the Jack Herer strain hit you like a ton of bricks.
It starts with a buzzy zap to the brain that keeps your mind on the hunt for creative stimulation. After about 5-15 minutes, you’ll be filled with energy and uplifting euphoria that starts in the chest and gradually travels from head to toe.
If you haven’t tried the Jack Herer strain, we urge you to. Not only is it one of the most famous and praised Sativas known to man, but it’s named after someone who only brought smiles, laughs, and hope to the cannabis community.
Jack Herer, we miss you, and we know you’d be proud of today’s modern cannabis industry. After all, if it wasn’t for you, who knows where we’d be?