Celebrating Jack Herer Day
In cannabis culture, there are a handful of names that make you think of the word “legend”. People that have made such an impression on the movement and history that it is impossible not to think of cannabis when talking about them. Think Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, Bob Marley, and many more.
But there is one name that stands out, and that is Jack Herer.
If you’re not familiar with the legalization movement, you may only know Jack Herer as a popular sativa-dominant strain. This cross between Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk was first bred in the mid 90s in the Netherlands. But its namesake, Jack Herer, was one of the most prominent champions of cannabis reform in his time.
In truth, Jack Herer was many things. For one, he was a talented and persuasive writer. He wrote a book called The Emperor Wears No Clothes which has been touted as starting the modern-day cannabis and hemp revolution. The book is a detailed look at the history of hemp in the United States, the uses of the plant, and a strong case for why cannabis and hemp should be legalized.
Herer also started a magazine titled G.R.A.S.S., a guide to teach people how to determine the quality of the cannabis they were using. Although this does not seem like a big deal today in a world where legalization and normalization are happening, in 1973 it was a highly controversial thing to do.
In addition to his writing, Herer also created glass pipes and opened the world’s first hemp store in Venice Beach, California. A second shop was later opened in Van Nuys.
With the help of his friend and fellow smoke shop owner Ed Adair, the two vowed to campaign until cannabis and hemp were legalized. This started a journey of activism that would take Herer all over the United States where he spoke at pro-marijuana rallies, conventions, and many other events. He even ran for president twice, once in 1998 and again in 1992.
Herer died on April 15, 2010 at the age of 70, suffering from a heart attack shortly after speaking at a pro-cannabis rally in Portland. He had lived long enough to see the fruit of his labour beginning to form, as a growing number of states had legalized, or were considering legalization of medical cannabis.
His commitment to ending cannabis prohibition is remembered through his years of activism, and his widely available Jack Herer cannabis strain.