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Who Was Jack Herer and What Did He Do?

There are plenty of strains that bear the name of their breeders – just look at DJ Short’s Blueberry. However, you’re less likely to find strains named in honour of people that had nothing to do with their inception. That’s exactly what you’ll find with this strain, though.

Jack Herer’s namesake wasn’t a world-famous cannabis breeder like DJ Short or Sam the Skunkman. Instead, this strain is named after New York native Jack Herer, also known as “the Hemperor.” Herer led a lifelong campaign to legalize cannabis and author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”, a treatise on marijuana legalization.

In this post, we’ll begin by delving into the specifics of Herer’s life and work. Then, we’ll outline details about the strain that bears his name, including its traits and background.

Jack Herer – Who Was He?

Before he was the Hemperor, he was just Jack Herer from New York. With his iconic stature – 6 feet tall and 230 pounds, with long hair and a big beard – Herer was definitely a product of the 1960s counterculture. The man who inspired the Jack Herer strain looked more like Jerry Garcia than a clean-cut political activist.

Early Life

While he would eventually become known as one of the world’s preeminent cannabis activists, Jack Herer came from humble beginnings. Herer was born in New York City in 1939. He served in the US Army during the Korean War before moving to Los Angeles in 1967. That’s when he first discovered weed, and it changed his life forever.

In 1973, he opened his first head shop, selling glass pipes and bongs with his business partner Ed Adair. Around the same time, Herer and Adair launched their campaign to legalize marijuana. He continued to organize his movement until 1983, when authorities raided one of Herer’s head shops and confiscated more than 6,000 products. Herer was convicted of drug crimes and sentenced to two years’ probation and $1,500 in fines.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

After running afoul with the authorities, Jack Herer doubled down on his cannabis crusade. His next move was to publish his seminal book, the Emperor Wears No Clothes. Herer published the book in 1985, and has revised it more than 12 times as of today. The title of the book refers to an allegorical story by author Hans Christian Anderson, which Herer used as a comparison for the state of cannabis legalization at the time.

In the book, Herer tells the story of his personal relationship with marijuana while also including information about cannabis’ usefulness in health and industrial settings. He discusses the dangers of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other modern problems, and the ecological damage they can cause.

Herer presented marijuana legalization as a way to address many of these problems at once by reducing pollution and producing clean, cheap energy. He gleaned much of the information from the book while searching the Library of Congress, seeking suppressed information that the US government didn’t want released. In a bold gambit, Herer offered $100,000 to anyone who could disprove the facts of his book.

The 330-page manuscript was an international success. As of 2020, it’s sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide. While printed in English, it gained notable popularity not only in the US, where Herer was based, but also Germany and the Netherlands.

Later Years

With the success of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Herer became a sought-after speaker for pro-marijuana events and rallies. During one span in 1990s, Herer allegedly spoke at 60 rallies in almost 50 different places during six weeks. He had a reputation as an animated, tireless worker, always ready to answer questions and spread knowledge about cannabis and hemp.

In 2000, Herer suffered a stroke during a pro-hemp event. He subsequently credited his unusually rapid recovery to regular cannabis oil use. That wouldn’t be the end of his health problems, unfortunately.

Herer died the same way he lived. On April 15, 2010, he passed away at his home in Eugene, Oregon. Doctors credited his death to complications related to a heart attack he suffered during September 2009. The heart attack struck just minutes after Herer delivered a high-energy speech extolling the benefits of weed at Portland, Oregon’s Hempstalk festival.

Jack Herer – The Strain

Jack Herer Strain

To honour Herer and his contribution to cannabis legalization, Dutch seed bank named a strain after him. Sensi Seeds first debuted Jack Herer in the 1990s – more than a decade before Herer’s death. Many smokers may have heard of the strain before they heard of Herer himself, which only accomplishes Sensi Seeds’ goal to spread awareness of the Hemperor’s life and work.

Strain Background

The strain – a Sativa-dominant hybrid with powerful euphoric effects – combines Haze, Northern Lights, and Shiva Skunk genetics. Jack Herer’s high is cerebral and uplifting, providing blissful and clear-headed euphoria. It features a respectable THC concentration, ranging from the high teens into the low twenties.

Smokers report that Jack Herer makes them feel happy, uplifted, and energetic. It can help banish stress, depression, and anxiety while alleviating pain and fatigue. Its terpene profile relies heavily on terpinolene, caryophyllene, and myrcene, giving it fruity, peppery, and herbal tones, respectively.

These are all just generalizations about this strain’s high, aroma, and appearance, though. There are a plethora of Jack Herer phenotypes, each with slight variations on these traits.

You Don’t Know Jack

Now that you have a grasp on Jack Herer’s life and the strain that bears his name, there’s just one last question: how is his name pronounced? While many stoners pronounce his last name as “her-RARE,” the Hemperor himself was jokingly quoted as saying “my last name rhymes with ‘terror.’”

If you want to try this legendary strain for yourself, we can help. Our premium Jack Herer contains all of the cranial and creative high that this strain typifies wrapped up in its fruity, spicy aroma. Don’t just take our word for it check it out in our online store.