Biography of a Stoner: Jack Herer

Avid cannabis smokers are probably quite familiar with the renowned Jack Herer strain, favorite for its focused, energetic high. This sativa-dominant hybrid is a dreamy combination of Northern Lights crossed with Shiva Skunk and a Haze. Since its origins in the Netherlands mid-1990s, stoners are head-over-heels for this ideal day-time strain. Naturally, you might find yourself wondering “exactly who is this Jack Herer guy?” However, true cannabis lovers know Jack Herer’s life-changing introduction to marijuana and his resulting life-long campaign for cannabis and hemp legalization.

Herer’s Political Platform

Once, Jack Herer strictly opposed all forms of cannabis use and consumption. Before his introduction to marijuana, Jack Herer held very conservative political views. He had also previously opposed desegregation, the Civil Rights Act, and even denied the legacy of FDR’s New Deal program.

Legend has it; he was actually compelled to divorce his first wife after learning she smoked marijuana. Ironically, as he supposedly then moved to Los Angelos where a cute girl convinced him to try pot for the first time. Later, Herer became a real champion in the campaign to legalize the cultivation and distribution of cannabis and hemp.

Jack dedicated much of his adult life to researching the medical benefits of smoking cannabis, as well as the many potential uses of cultivated hemp. He also recognized the economic benefits of the plant as endless:

  • renewable fuel source
  • paper
  • rope and other fibers/textiles
  • medicine
  • ability to be grown virtually anywhere in the world

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

In 1983, police fined Jack Herer for registering voters in a parking lot, and he spent two weeks in federal prison. He held out and refused to pay the $5. During this two-week hiatus, Herer began writing his infamous non-fiction book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” (Referencing Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”). The book compiles 12 years of data about cannabis and its various uses. It is a book we still reference today in legalization and rescheduling efforts.

In the book, Herer suggests the legal the cultivation of hemp could singlehandedly reverse the effects of greenhouse gases on the environment. If environmental movements outlaw other available fuel sources to stop the depletion of nonrenewable resources and reduces deforestation, hemp would remain! Herer also reminds us that hemp was a valuable paper and textile source in the U.S. before the government outlawed it. With over 100,000 copies sold, Herer’s most notable book can sway people’s opinion of marijuana overnight.

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross

During the same two-week prison sentence, Herer also read “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross,” a 1970s work by John M. Ellegro examining Christian linguistics and Fertility Cults in the Ancient Near East. Ellegro claims fertility cults—both in Christianity and many other religions—ingested “visionary plants” in an effort to enter the mind of God. He suggests the Eucharist (the ritual consumption of bread and wine) was actually the consumption of Amanita muscaria (psychoactive mushrooms). He also claims Jesus never actually existed, but was a imagined by those under the influence of psychoactive mushrooms.

The ideas present in the book changed Jack Herer’s overall perception of life and motivated him to begin writing “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” After suffering his first minor heart attack and major stroke in 2004, Herer suffered from mobility and speaking issues on the right side of his body. He largely recovered from these ailments and credited his recovery to the use of the same psychoactive mushrooms.

Tragically, Herer suffered a second heart attack in 2009 while attending Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon. In 2010, He ultimately died due to complications from his heart attack at age 70.

Jack Herer Honorary Cannabis Strain

It’s been more than two decades since growers developed the strain in the Netherlands, and Jack Herer is a staple in the modern cannabis industry. The sativa-dominant strain provides a pleasant and controlled high. Fans of  Jack Herer praise its energizing and appetizing characteristics:

  • upbeat feeling
  • clear-headed/focused high
  • energy boosting
  • stress/anxiety relieving
  • relieves headaches/nausea/depression
  • head buzz (as opposed to a body high)
  • tropical, frosty scent
  • spicy undertones
  • hints of grapefruit/citrus

Jack Herer is highly functional, with little-to-no comedown effect. Smokers often chose it as a milder strain for daytime use. Engineered for happiness, this strain is bound to leave a smile on your face. Remarkably, the fan-favorite has earned at least nine festival awards including the Cannabis Cup. Today, Dutch pharmacies distribute the strain and recognize it a medicinal-grade strain.


A True Testament

The real Jack Herer is a true testament that a person’s views on marijuana can change if they would just try it!  Herer’s original observations led him to blindly oppose all uses of the cannabis plant. Yet, his opinion swayed after smoking the plant just once.

This shows just how strong the stigma against marijuana holds onto society for decades. While laws and common culture are changing, some effects remain today. Examples like Jack Herer demonstrate how individual opinions give us hope moving forward. With so many states legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use, will we see national legalization in the near future? Although we currently face a very conservative administration, more and more advocates step up for marijuana. We must remain hopeful. It is entirely possible future political candidates come forward with recognition of the many practical uses of hemp and important medicinal uses of cannabis.


Justin Meerkat

Cannabis Entrepreneur & Cofounder | Follow @justinmeerkat on Instagram

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