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Jack Herer – A Hemp Hero

Few who have smoked cannabis and taken an interest in the plant will not have heard of Jack Herer. His name is synonymous with cannabis activism. The role he played in progressing cannabis policy reform in the US and educating the public about the benefits of hemp was so respected that Sensi Seeds named a strain after him. This strain has become as legendary as the man himself and has helped to generate many much-loved offspring.

Who was Jack Herer?

Born in 1939 in New York, Jack Herer, also known as The Emperor of Hemp, was an author and cannabis rights activist who pushed for decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis.

Interestingly, Herer initially held an anti-cannabis stance. As a veteran of the Vietnam war, he disagreed with the politics of the 1960s counterculture era, and described many of the antiwar politics as “un-American”. An open-minded being, Herer changed his views when he discovered the potential benefits of cannabis, smoking his first joint at the age of 30.

Upon further education, Herer became more passionate about the plant, eventually becoming an outspoken voice in the fight to legalise cannabis. In 1973, Jack and his good friend, “Capt” Ed Adair opened a head shop in Venice Beach, selling pipes and bongs, and the two vowed to fight for cannabis legalisation. Among their goals was to have everyone who was serving prison time for simple possession, freed.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

Famed in cannabis culture for his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, in which he explained how hemp could serve as an environmentally friendly replacement for all fossil fuels and their derivatives, Jack listed hemp’s suitabilities as a substitute for paper and textiles and went on to note its potential use in home energy and countless other areas, including its medicinal benefits.

Herer claimed that greed and corporate profit were the real reasons for outlawing cannabis, and took government to task for suppressing information about the plant and its many benefits, favouring big-money industries over the wellbeing of citizens and environmental preservation.

He had the idea for the book in prison, in 1983, while serving a small jail sentence for trespassing, after refusing to leave a car parking lot where he was collecting petition signatures. The now-legendary book was published for the first time in 1985 and remains in print to this day, currently on its 14th edition.

Some editions of the book have gained collector’s item status, and fetch a high price – notably editions printed on Hemp Paper, bound in Hemp, or signed by The Hemperor himself.

Jack Herer’s Passing

Jack suffered the first of two heart attacks in July of 2000, along with a major stroke, which left him with difficulty speaking and moving the right side of his body. He mostly recovered, attributing his success to treatment with the psychoactive mushroom Amanita muscaria.

Some nine years later, Herer suffered his second heart attack on September 12th while backstage at the Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon. Jack would eventually die just five days short of 4/20, when complications from the 2009 heart attack took him from us on April 15th, 2010, at the age of 70. He is buried at the Eden Memorial Park Cemetary in Mission Hills, California.

The Jack Herer Strain

In the mid-1990s, Sensi Seeds created a strain named in Jack’s honour: a sativa-dominant (around 55%) Haze hybrid whose exact genetic formula remains something of a guarded secret. It is thought to be a lovechild of Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk, with terpinolene as its dominant terpene. Known for its citrus scent and flavour, Jack Herer offers a nicely balanced feeling with both cerebral and physical effects, which have served to make it immensely popular with medical and recreational users alike.

The Herer strain has nine Cannabis Cup titles to its name, making it one of the most-awarded varieties in history, and offers an average THC content, but a low CBD content. It’s a recognised medical-grade strain, known to be of benefit in relieving pain, anxiety and stress – but should be avoided by those suffering from insomnia due to its ability to stimulate thought, mood, and alertness.

Growers should note that outdoor, Mediterranean temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit are best, and indoor, be sure to top and flower soon after the plants take root, as they can reach heights of 8 feet in some conditions. Herer is said to typically offer a slightly lower than average yield, and flowers within 10 weeks when grown indoors.

Jack Herer seeds are available from Seedsman, follow the link here to purchase:

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Duncan Mathers