Jack Herer: The Painting of a Sign for Cannabis

June 8, 2010 By 3 comments
Jack Herer

How do you write an introduction for Jack Herer? Simply put, YOU CAN’T! The second Jack Herer would walk in a room, everyone would take immediate notice. All forms of communication would instantaneously focus on Jack’s trials and tribulations along with his great successes. His disciples’ without delay would start to reflect upon his life and what he has done for us all. From serving in a war, to taking his first toke at the age of 30, then later running for President of the United States; in short, Jack was a man who lived and loved life. His existence would set forth an example of what each and every one of us should be doing to help end prohibition. As you read this article I am certain you will see how this immense man rightfully deserves to be considered one of the founding forefathers’ of the Cannabis movement.

Jack Herer has and will always change lives. Born June 18, 1939 in the city of New York, later passing away April 15, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon; Jack embodied what it is to be an American. A patriot who spent 30 years of his life not ever knowing what “Marijuana” felt or even tasted like. A headstrong Jack put his education on hold, in order to serve his country in Korea. Soon after his service in the Korean War, Herer ended up waging war against his own country in order to decriminalize Cannabis and educate the American people.

How the West Was Won

Jack eventually became a sign painter immediately following his tour in Korea. As time went on he felt it was necessary to head west. At that point, Jack made the decision to pack up, grab the family and move on. The Herer family made a substantial move to Los Angeles, California. Before long Jack and his then, wife went their separate ways. Jack had been told about Marijuana, but showed little to no interest until the age of 30. After deciding it was time to try marijuana out, he not only stimulated his first high, he inadvertently set in motion a campaign to decriminalize Cannabis in every aspect. This campaign would not only be a fight, but it would be an educational course that would involve the whole nation as a class.

With a whole new outlook on life, Jack spent the first half of the 70’s opening up two head-shops, and accomplishing his first writing success the cult classic G.R.A.S.S: Great Revolutionary American Standard System: The official guide for assessing the quality of Marijuana on the 1 to 10 scale. With this success, Herer met a partner that fought along side by side with him, in a battle that would take a lifetime. Jack met Captain Ed Adair; the two made a historic pledge, one that involved a lifetime of work. This pledge has set the standard for Cannabis activists around the globe to this day. Bluntly put, the two of them would work toward the decriminalization, and complete legalization of Cannabis. The commitment would include the release of each and every prisoner that had ever been wrongfully imprisoned and persecuted for the use of Cannabis, or until the two turned 84.

Having started several pro-Cannabis organizations including H.E.M.P (Help End Marijuana Prohibition), Jack and Captain Ed eventually started The Reefer Raiders of Los Angeles. The two spent the next 12 Years preserving & defending any and all information pertaining to the benefits of Cannabis, and its immeasurable amount of uses. They were on a mission to educate not only every American, but every person on this planet about the vast uses of Cannabis. Their research involved uses such as rendering the Hemp plant into an alternative renewable fuel source, medication for the sick and food for the countless starving counties.

$5.00 to 600,000 Copies

Tom Rutherford was the state senator of New Mexico, and as fate would have it,
Jack would be given the opportunity to talk to him about his position on Cannabis. Surprisingly, it was received with an open mind; so much so that the senator told Jack if the facts that he spoke of were true, then Jack should “put it in a book and that’s when pot would be legalized.”

With the optimism and open mindedness Jack received by the great senator, in conjunction with a brief stay in 1983 at a federal prison for not paying a $5.00 fee for registered voters. Herer’s forthrightness would bring out these great words “The 14 days I was in prison I wrote the outline for the Emperor, so f**k them!” Jack had no sympathy for the opposing party. With lies and the reefer madness mentality already in position, the uphill battle was nothing short of motivation for the majestic author.

Prove Me Wrong

Having taken the sound advice of the senator, Herer’s self published “The Emperor Wear No Clothes” skyrocketed into success. This did not come without a cost. Jack had vigorously toured across the US, continuing on the forefront of the Cannabis movement. He was not only speaking at assemblies and rallies; Herer continued and was constantly pushing the preverbal envelope on a daily basis by telling anyone who would listen about his studies and findings. The more Jack felt the crowd embrace not only his presence, but awareness, the more he would continue to fight the fight we all have come to know too well. With the writing of his book, Jack included a challenge to anyone, and everyone to prove the findings in his book incorrect. Jack’s challenge simply put; prove the findings wrong and get one-hundred thousand dollars. Despite the book being published in over 12 languages and selling over 600,000 copies worldwide. No one to this day, with all our new technology and scientific studies has yet to collect the prize.

A Political Party

In 1988 Jack took the biggest step yet, he ran for United States President as a Grassroots candidate. Herer getting 1,949 votes then again in 1992 where he doubled his support with 3,875 votes; Herer was motivated more than ever. With this colossal milestone reached, a great loss was felt. It wasn’t the loss of the presidency; it was the loss of Jack’s partner Captain Ed Adair in 1991. With Herer leading the charge into battle, he persisted to make Cannabis awareness a disease that would infect each and everyone of us. So much so that the Wall Street Journal featured “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” on the front page with a review that launched Jack and the Cannabis movement into an attractiveness that would help strengthen its hold of supporters and readers.

All this notoriety brought the Cannabis movement to an all time high in 1996. This was the year proposition 215 was set into effect in the state of California. This win would lead a stampede of 14 other states in 14 years to legalize the medical use of Marijuana. Even with this win at his back and the movement gaining momentum. 1999 brought out a documentary, by Anita Roddick, about the life of Jack Herer. The film would go on to be labeled as one of the Pot Documentaries in History. The documentary would be Jack worthy by revealing the reasons behind the outlaw of industrial Hemp and Cannabis.

Jack still strived even after having suffered from a mild heart attack and major stroke in 2000, while on stage at the World Hemp Festival. The stroke would bring on 3 years of rehab, and setback with his speech. However Herer would overcome the postponement of his activism. Jack would give the credit of his recovery to earthly medicines. Herer’s fight for decriminalization still continued. On September 12, 2009 Jack was speaking of how great he felt at the Hemp Stalk Festival, then all of a sudden another major heart attack that would force him to be given CPR for 20 minutes till an ambulance could arrive. After several months in critical condition our king the great Jack Herer passed away.

The Greatest Loss in History

Jack Herer passed on, leaving behind him nothing short of a mythical legacy that is worthy of being told for lifetimes. Jack memories are instilled with the wonderful life of having 6 children: Barry, Mark, Dan, Chanci, River Walker and BJ Herer, a wife who would sit by his side as he passed, Jeannie Herer his grandchildren and a brother and sister. Jack and Captain Ed Adair left a legacy that you, I and all the millions if not billions of followers must carry on. Carry on the policy of telling anyone who will listen to us about the truths of Cannabis, and how it’s been shamed, and written off as a drug that will be the end of us all. So take the same pledge, follow in the late great Jack Herer fight till 84, or till it’s legal. Preferably the latter part, but hey an 84 year old can still hold a picket sign, sign a ballot, and even plant a seed.

So to this; Jack Herer, you will forever be missed, but never forgotten. You set in motion a movement that will forever hail and recognize you as one of the founding forefathers of the Hemp movement. Your life did not go without repercussions, not to us, but to those who opposed you. We will forever fight your fight and remind each and every person we come in contact with about the many uses and benefits of Cannabis. Thank you Jack Herer and Rest in Peace.

(On a side note: Jack Herer was honored with a hybrid of strains being crossed namely: Skunk #1 x Northern Lights #5 x Haze. This strain was named after him and has gone on to win several prestigious awards. The hybrid known as Jack Herer has been regarded as one of the most sought out strains available. The noble Jack Herer was also inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame in recognition for his career as an author and as a leader & activist in the decriminalization of Cannabis. )

Written By 420 Staff Writer The Butcher

If you would like to help cover Jack’s growing medical and funeral expenses, please make a donation to the Herer family at the official Herer family website. http://jackherermedicalandmemorialfund.org

  • holysmokey

    great read his work an yours

  • Brinna

    A heartfelt memorial for a great man. I learned a lot reading this. Thank you.

  • willoby

    Very inspiring. No matter what you feel about the issue of Cannabis, you can surely appreciate a man who will stand up for what he believes in and devote a lifetime to promote a belief, and inform people of his studies and findings! I personally never knew of the man Jack Herer, until I joined this forum. I always heard the name, knew of the strain of Marijuana, but didn’t know of the man til I got to reading up on this forum and read numerous threads about him and seeing his name being used in numerous conversations. I would have liked to have known him personally, but I didn’t. I am proud to be able to comment about his accomplishments in life though and will do my part in better educating myself and others about Cannabis and its benefits…Thank you Jack!!!