Who is Jack Herer? Legacy and Strain Explained

Those unfamiliar with the battle for cannabis legalization may only know Jack Herer by the cannabis strain, but the name carries much more significance than you would believe at first glance.

An advocate for cannabis reform and legalization, Jack Herer was a committed activist in the cannabis space. Jack Herer passed away on April 15, 2010, at the age of 70, and while he wasn’t able to see witnesses the fruits of his labour, his legacy lives on through his legacy of cannabis activism, reform, and his namesake strain.

The Legacy of Jack Herer

Jack Herer was an American activist and reformer that campaigned for the decriminalization of cannabis. While he was born in the state of New York in 1939, it would be 1967, 28 years later, when he would try cannabis for the first time. Bold, creative and energetic like the strain named after him, Jack Herer experienced a paradigm shift after his experience with cannabis and began to learn everything there was to know about the plant.

In 1973, just six years after his first experience with cannabis, Herer was already well-established within the cannabis space.

A compelling and persuasive writer, he had co-authored a comic/magazine titled GRASS (Great Revolutionary American Standard System) which he marketed as “The Official Guide for Assessing the Quality of Marijuana on the 1 to 10 Scale,” and is the author of the “Emperor Wears no Clothes,” a non-fiction book that provided information about cannabis and hemp plants and touted its benefits and many uses.

A multi-talented individual, Herer also later went on to invent his own smoking accessories and opened America’s first hemp store on Venice Beach and another one further down the line in Van Nuys.

Dedicated to educating the American populace about the merits of cannabis, Herer and his smoke-shop partner Ed Adair launched a cannabis legalization campaign in 1973 and vowed to continue their advocacy until they succeeded or died trying. Their campaign took them across the continental United States, with the pair speaking at many pro-cannabis rallies, conventions and events.

So dedicated was Herer that he even campaigned for president twice – once in 1988 and again in 1992. While he didn’t expect to win the presidency, he leveraged the political race to bring attention to his cannabis activism.

Unfortunately, Jack Herer did not get the opportunity to see cannabis legalization through to the end. However, he was able to witness the decriminalization of cannabis in many American states including Alaska, California, Oregon and Hawaii. His legacy lives on through his authored works, his impact on American cannabis legislation and his own namesake strain.

The Jack Herer Strain and Beyond

While the “Emperor Wears no Clothes” author passed away in 2010, many still rally behind his works and his namesake strain to continue advocating for cannabis legalization.

Created in the mid-1990s, the Jack Herer strain is a sativa-dominant cultivar engineered by the Dutch seed bank Sensi Seeds as a homage to the cannabis activist and reformist. A winner of the cannabis cup and multiple other cannabis contests, the hybrid continues to be a popular choice even today. Out of all the marijuana strains entered into contests today, Jack Herer is easily a top contender.

Beyond the strain, the legacy of Jack Herer extends to cannabis advocates to this day. While Jack Herer wasn’t the only advocate campaigning for cannabis, he was one of the most visible and outspoken. Without the sacrifices, Jack Herer made during his life, it’s hard to imagine where cannabis would be today.

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