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Who Was Jack Herer

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Medical-based articles cover various figures and cures. Aimed at shining a light into a field that seems to confuse most people.

Jack Herer

Photo: MCRLabs

Photo: MCRLabs

The world of cannabis legalization is one that has been around for decades and has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Like all struggles, there are always those who stand out as beacons of what the movement stands for. Going back to the iconic picture of Allen Ginsberg holding the pro-marijuana sign at a rally to the freedom fighters of today, there has been one name that stands on its own in this struggle. That name is Jack Herer.

Herer is best known for two books he published, The Emperor Wears No Clothes and Grass. The Emperor Wears No Clothes is the book that is credited with starting the pro-cannabis movement. Many who have been arguing for the decriminalization and decriminalization of cannabis have used this as their main source for their arguments. Herer wanted the information in his book to be readily available to anyone who wanted it and for those who are interested, you can get a free copy online from

One of the stances he had with cannabis was that the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 needed to be repealed. This act allowed for the growing of hemp as long as the farmer had the proper stamp for it. The catch with the law however was that in order to get your stamp you needed to present the hemp field to the IRS. Since you technically couldn’t legally grow hemp without the stamp, many farmers who showed their fields in order to get the stamp found themselves being arrested for violation of federal law.

Jack Herer is credited with bringing to the public the various uses cannabis has such as but not limited to fuel, medicine, food, fiber, pulp, and much more. Herer was the first one to bring to light that the United States government had been withholding information about cannabis that not only showed the many uses but also showed how safe the drug really is. He couldn’t stress enough not only the medicinal qualities of cannabis but also the economic value as well. The versatility of the plant allows for it to be grown virtually anywhere without damaging the ecosystem.

In a move that can be compared to the time that Hunter S. Thompsons ran for sheriff, Jack Herer has twice put a bid in for president running on the Grassroots Party. The Grassroots party was a single-issue party that while did have a tendency to lean left, its main focus was on ending the War on Drugs. The first time Herer ran, which was 1988 he ended the race after receiving 1,949 votes. He saw better luck in 1992 when he would run again ending his race with 3,875 votes. While he may not have the position of commander and chief he was able to show that the general attitude to drug prohibition was changing.

While Herer was trying to inform the public of all the benefits of cannabis as he was not always welcomed in every circle. Many critics have come forth in an attempt to refute some of Herer’s claims. A group of European experts stated that their data showed that hemp couldn’t possibly meet the numbers that Here had claimed. No official experiment had been conducted to disprove Herer. Most of the claims the European experts had put out were mostly speculations based on what was the current data at the time. Since the prohibition had stifled research into the benefits of cannabis there was no real way for anyone to test in the field. In response to his critics, Herer put out a challenge of $10,000 to anyone who could disprove his claims. Today this challenge still stands but has gone up to $50,000. No one has ever taken up Herer on his challenge.

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In July of 2000, Herer had a minor heart attack that was accompanied by a major stroke. This would be the start of his declining health. He mostly recovered from the stroke he had, claiming that the secret to his recovery was treatment using a strain of psychedelic mushrooms known as Amanita Muscaria. 2009 Herer ended suffering from a major heart attack while backstage at Hempstalk Festival. The complications that came from this one were too much for him to recover from on April 15th, 2009, at the age of 70 Jack Herer passed.

To honor Jack Herer and everything he contributed to the sensible drug policy movement, Herer was inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame and had a strain of cannabis named after him. The Jack Herer strain won the 7th annual cannabis cup and has received a wide variety of awards. His book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, is still considered one of the most sound arguments for legalizing cannabis and is cited in almost every case that goes up against the supreme court.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 JonPel

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