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Who Is Jack Herer? The Man Behind The Strain

jack herer
Written by Alexandra Hicks

If you’re a cannabis connoisseur living in a legal or decriminalized region, you’ve likely narrowed it down to some specific strains and products you prefer by now. High on the list of many cannabis users is a potent sativa strain known as Jack Herer.

Jack Herer is a legendary strain that’s been around since the mid-nineties. Its uplifting and energized high, not to mention the incredibly fresh and citrusy flavor, has kept Jack Herer on the top shelf for decades. What many smokers fail to realize is that Jack Herer isn’t just some random, arbitrary name. These flowers are named after an actual person, a lifelong cannabis activist known as the ‘Emperor of Hemp’.

What do you know about the man behind the strain? Read on to learn more.

Cannabis is full of interesting characters. Many of the big names in pot, those who helped propel the industry forward over the years, usually have larger than life personalities along with a taste for political activism. To learn more about the industry and the people who made it, and for exclusive deals on exclusive deals on delta-8 THCdelta 10thcvthcpthc-ohhc and even legal hemp-derived delta-9 THC, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter.

The Man: Jack Herer

If you live in a legal or medical market, it’s not uncommon to find numerous strains with “Jack” in the name. Jack Diesel, Critical Jack, and Super Jack are all variants of the infamous sativa strain, Jack Herer. A lot of people, both consumers and those within the industry, know about the potent effects and robust flavor of this strain, however, many are unfamiliar with the man behind the strain.

Jack Herer (the man), grew up in upstate Buffalo, NY, but he was born in New York City in 1939. Herer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean war and after finishing his contract in 1967, he moved to Los Angeles and began working at a neon sign company. It was in California that Jack Herer tried marijuana for his first time at the ripe of 30 years old. After falling in love with the plant and its effects, he quit his job and opened a head shop in Venice Beach, a mecca for art and hippie culture at the time.

By the 1970s, Jack Herer became a powerful presence in the movement to legalize cannabis. Herer spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress, reviewing decades of government-backed research on marijuana benefits and hemp fiber uses. He used this information for his 1985 book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which marked a watershed in his career as a cannabis industry activist.

His book quickly became known as the “holy grail” or “bible” of cannabis knowledge. To this day it is still viewed as a classic and a must-read for anyone with any sort of involvement with cannabis. During a time when misinformation was rampant and anything the government said about weed was viewed with great cynicism, the majority of people who wanted real, accurate information about cannabis turned to Jack Herer’s book.

“The Emperor of Hemp”

Bouncing off the title of his book, Herer himself came to be known as the Emperor of Hemp, or Hemperor. A common theme in his work was uncovering government hypocrisy and how they used questionable tactics and inaccurate information to justify prohibition. His speeches, known to be incredibly passionate and inspiring, were in the same vein.

Herer suspected that government officials knew the benefits of cannabis but were keeping it illegal to keep societies dependent on rope fiber, paper pulp, and petrochemicals. As usual, just follow the money. He discussed the importance of hemp and his belief that hemp was America’s future cash crop, one with the ability to reinvent virtually every industry in an eco-friendly way.

Jack also shed light on another common motivator behind anti-cannabis policies – racism. After researching back to the early days of prohibition, Herer became “furious and disgusted” with the racism, lies, and uninformed legislation… so after years of writing and studying he published his book. Over the course of six weeks in 1990, Herer held 60 rallies across 48 different U.S. cities discussing the information in his book and other ideas surrounding the benefits and legalization of cannabis.

Eventually Jack left Los Angeles and moved north to Oregon, where his opened his famous Portland headshop, The Third Eye Shoppe on Hawthorne Blvd. In addition to keeping high-quality glass pipes and psychedelic décor on deck, the now-closed shop became a popular meeting spot for cannabis activists in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon’s medical marijuana initiative, Ballot Measure 67, was drafted at The Third Eye, and many prominent cannabis-industry figures have spent time in Herer’s shop.

On April 15th, 2010, after four decades of activism, Jack collapsed and next to the stage at a hemp festival in Oregon, following a passionate speech. He passed away shortly after. According to his family, that is what Jack would have wanted, “He gave an impassioned speech at a hemp rally, then as soon as he finished, he entered the final stages of his life.”

The Strain: Euphoric Sativa

Jack Herer was crafted by Netherlands-based seedbank, Sensi Seeds, back in the early 1990s. Eventually, Jack Herer would be distributed in Dutch pharmacies far and wide as an “authentic” and “original” medicinal cannabis strain; and it has won many awards for its quality and potency.

Jack Herer is a cross of Northern Lights #5, Haze, and Skunk #1. Despite having a lineage that is less than 50% sativa, Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant hybrid that feels uplifting, energetic and euphoric when consumed. Because Jack Herer does have a little bit of indica in it, you can expect to experience a slight body high that pairs perfectly with the cerebral effects. Many describe it as the “perfect high” and it’s perfect for use at any time of the day, as opposed to heavy indicas which some users prefer to use only at night.

Like Blue Dream, Jack Herer is one of those flowers that most sativa-lovers flock to. This strain is high in the terpenes Myrcene and Limonene, which make up for its signature flavor that full of earthy, citrusy tones. Me personally, this is my type of strain as a I tend to prefer flowers with fresh, crisp flavors rather than the musky ones like U.K. Cheese, for example.

“You’ve got to be out of your mind not to smoke dope”

Jack Herer, the man, was an incredible activist, eloquent writer, and a trusted figure at one of the most crucial times in the history of modern cannabis culture. Jack Herer, the strain, is potent, flavorful, and uplifting – it lives up to its namesake.

No matter what your thoughts are on sativa strains, or what your cannabis needs may be, it’s worth remembering the last public speech that Jack Herer gave immediately before his passing: “You’ve got to be out of your mind not to smoke dope. It is the best thing the world has ever had.”

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About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.