A name or pronunciation that everyone has heard through their fight, or the varieties of Cannabis dedicated to him. It has been 10 years since Jack Herer died. But who was this character with an imposing charisma who spent more than half of his life campaigning for hemp?
Jack Herer was born in New York in 1939 in a modest, very conservative Jewish family. A child without problems, until the death of his father (heart attack at 41 years), period when he began to fail at school. It was therefore at the age of 17 that he joined the army and left for the conflict zone in Korea. Jack Herer at this time was very conservative, Republican, and a staunch supporter of the US military and its actions. Back in the USA, he found a job as a sign painter. He climbed the ladder and became a senior manager for several companies. He leads a quiet life with his wife and children.
Jack Herer at that time was pro-American and Anti-hippie. He does not understand that you cannot support your country. Cannabis is for him a hard drug and the American anti-drug films which appear on TV confirms him in this choice.
In the early 1960s the Herer family decided to move to California, to Los Angeles. 1 year later they divorced, but Jack stayed in California to be close to his children.
Jack Herer: The Declic of Marijuana
His girlfriend at the time makes him smoke cannabis, when he was against it, he apparently clicked and described an incredible experience. So he started to do research to understand the ban on hemp and marijuana.
In 1973, he co-wrote a comic book with a friend. This comic strip, whose title is Grass, is a hemp hymn. It was a success, the comic sold over 35,000 copies and Jack Herer became the hemp specialist for readers.
He learns and learns about everything we can do with hemp (food, medicine, tissue, fuel etc) and what we could avoid thanks to this raw material. He then becomes a pro-hemp activist with an ecological tendency.
Activist organizations of the time (who wanted to legalize marijuana) do not follow him because his cause "pro-hemp" can, according to them, serve them in their fight.
To live, he opened a stand with his best friend on Venice Beach in California which allows him to promote hemp to all passers-by and sells products derived from the raw material. This stand is known to everyone in the region and Jack Herer becomes the face of the fight for the legalization of hemp .
During a pro hemp demonstration on federal property, the then President of the United States (Ronald Reagan) passed by and asked why people were demonstrating. Reagan, who was anti-drugs, arrested everyone 2 days later. The fines were $ 5 but jack Herer refused to pay and ended up in jail for 15 days.
The Hemp Bible: The Emperor Wears No Clothes
He used this time to start writing, and from there was born the book "The Emperor wears no clothes" which was a great success. This book printed on hemp paper was a historical report and a crusade for the legalization of hemp. One could discover the economic as well as spiritual potential there. He gathered all his knowledge, his theories and documents from around the world to make hemp known to the world. The book has been republished 11 times and is still for sale.
"I'm not saying that hemp will save the world ... but in any case, it's the only thing that can do it ... " The Emperor wears no clothes
The Emperor of Hemp: 40 years of fighting
Never ceasing to fight for the legalization of hemp and its return to the economy as a raw material, Jack Herer became a political activist known to all Americans. He received awards for his work and the pro-cannabis organizations recognized that he had participated in the evolution of mentalities around this plant.
He ran twice for the United States without success and continued his fight until his death on April 15, 2010 from a heart attack.
Unfortunately for him, he has never been able to know the new cannabis laws of the past few years in the United States (especially in California), but he certainly participated in them indirectly. A cannabis strain now bears his name in recognition of his work.
An hour-long documentary about his history, his fight and his life is available on youtube in French: Jack Herer Empereur du Chanvre