Cannabis Legends: Jack Herer

There are many icons of the cannabis industry, but few have a strain named after them that shows up at dispensaries around the world. Upon your last visit to a cannabis retail outlet, you may have happened on Jack Herer, one of the most popular sativas to ever grace the marijuana market. This unique example of bud was christened in honor of a legendary legalization advocate whose work contributed greatly to the modern status of cannabis regulation and public understanding of the plant’s many beneficial qualities.

Who Was Jack Herer?

Jack Herer was born in the 1930s in Buffalo, New York, though for much of his career he was active on the West Coast, eventually opening up a head shop of his own in Oregon during the 1970s. These early years of activity saw Jack establishing connections within the wider cannabis community and developing his knowledge of the marijuana plant, which he began to swear by for its medicinal, spiritual, and even practical attributes.

Herer collected a vast amount of information he accumulated throughout this time. He eventually published his findings the form of a book, titled The Emperor Wears No Clothes. This book would go on to become a classic of underground cannabis literature, and inspired a generation of activists, equipping them with arguments to go forth and debunk the prevailing anti-legalization rhetoric of the time.

Herer’s fervent belief in the power of cannabis was not only limited to its ability to relax and relieve pain. He also publicized his advocacy of the hemp plant, which bears close links to cannabis. Finally, he supported hemp-based textiles, paper, and a range of other applications. At the time, stigma and the intervention of business interests prevented these goals at the time.

The Legacy of the Hemperor

Jack Herer’s legacy is broad within the cannabis community. Many prominent legalization advocates would likely point to Herer as a trailblazer in the culture for his long commitment to the cause, contributions towards informing the public about cannabis, and the general mystique of his singular lifestyle. 

Herer was hardly the only cannabis legalization advocate active throughout the worst decades of cannabis prohibition. But he was one of the most visible. What’s more, he created space for other individuals and organizations voice their opinions. He was also active with the United States Grassroots Party, one of the most storied legalization-focused political parties of its era. Herer even ran as a presidential candidate for the party twice, picking up thousands of votes.

Herer, unfortunately, passed away in 2003. In his final years, he began to turn his focus towards the merits of psychedelics for healing purposes. Though Herer is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the form of the many impacts he made on cannabis culture and the history of legalization, not only in the United States but across the world. For those who want to become acquainted with Jack even in the present, a famous sativa strain named Jack Herer has won international competitions due to its stunning quality.

Want to try some Jack Herer for yourself? You can find various products bearing the strain name at our Des Moines dispensary.

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