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Jack Herer RIP: A Tribute To The Marijuana-Legalization Icon One Of Last Interviews

Ganjarden

Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Latecomers to the marijuana-legalization movement may never have heard of Jack Herer, who died yesterday at age seventy. But veterans of the cause cite his 1985 book The Emperor Wears No Clothes as the manifesto that launched a campaign that continues to gather steam.

Herer died from complications related to a heart attack he suffered last September. That makes the interview he granted a few months earlier to Gregory Daurer, a longtime local activist who works as the office coordinator for marijuana attorney Warren Edson, one of his last.

Read it below -- and check out Daurer's observations about Herer in the wake of his passing.

Daurer's interview with Herer appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Medical Marijuana News and Directory. To get a sense of Herer's passionate (and often profane) style, sample the concluding section:

What do you think has been the most significant thing that's happened sine you've started promoting hemp?

I thought change would happen 25 years ago, 30 years ago, 35 years ago. It's getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough. If I had to do it over again, I would make nothing illegal about hemp.

You live two years longer if you smoke it every day. And people who don't smoke anything and who don't drink anything live two years less than people who smoke cannabis every day. I don't make a mistake. I do all my homework.

What tips do you have for raising consciousness?

Get out everybody to vote. You have to vote. You have to vote the bastards out! If they don't vote for hemp, vote the fucking bastards out of office, right now! Like Bush. And Obama: I don't understand, either he doesn't know...

Jack, is there anything else that you want to add?

I believe that all forms of things have to be natural. 50 percent of chemicals in agriculture are used on cotton in the United States. What the fuck is that about?

Go natural. That's the Jack Herer theme?

The best thing in the world and it's against the law.

I'll tell ya, I'm getting mad at all the fucking silliness. Even the good guys -- Ron Paul and Barney Frank -- they're fucking chicken. I have to speak. Other people have to speak. They are good guys, but they just don't know. Everybody needs to write these guys. Hemp will save the world, and nothing else will.

This wasn't the first time Daurer had spoken to Herer.

"I wouldn't say we knew each other that well," he says. "But like a lot of other people in Colorado, I was very intrigued by The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and I definitely wanted to hear him speak when he came out here in 1991. And he came out one or two times more between 1991 and 1992 to support the Colorado Hemp Initiative. It was an initiative to get hemp/cannabis/marijuana on the ballot, and even though it didn't make it, he was very helpful in the process and certainly an inspiration beyond that.

"Any activist in the early '90s worth their salt memorized from front to back Jack's book and distributed the information in whatever way they could -- or they were inspired to create their own businesses manufacturing hemp products: hemp clothes, hemp body ointment, so many other things."

As this comment suggests, Herer's mission was multifaceted. He wanted the hemp plant legalized not only for smoking pleasure but also for industrial uses -- and his message was heard far and wide.

"This was serious business," Daurer emphasizes. "He inspired a bio-revolution that hasn't really taken hold as much in America, since we can't legally grow hemp, just like you can't grow marijuana. But in Europe, well, a few years after he spoke in Germany, Mercedes and BMW were including hemp as part of the composite material in their cars. And now, there are a lot of hemp products available here, because it's legal to import hemp in non-psychoactive form: hemp oil, hemp cereal, whole hemp seeds, which are really useful because of the essential fatty acids and all the proteins in it..."

In 2000, Herer suffered a stroke from which it took him years to recover -- and during Daurer's interview with him last year, the effects on his speech were still evident. Nonetheless, he was as forceful and excitable as ever -- and while his voice has been stilled, Daurer believes that "his legacy in this country is just starting. It may take the legalization of marijuana before anything can be done about hemp, since the government has been so silly about this whole issue. But hemp has passed through legislatures in South Dakota, Vermont and Oregon, and I think there'll be more to come. We've focused so much on medical marijuana, medical marijuana, medical marijuana over the past few years -- so it's going to be good to explore other positive aspects of this plant.

"Jack Herer inspired dozens and dozens of people in Colorado to try to make a difference regarding this issue, and he's definitely going to be remembered. Hopefully, someday, there'll be a statue built of him."


NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Denver Westword
Author: Michael Roberts
Contact: Denver Westword
Copyright: 2010 Denver Westword, LLC
Website: Jack Herer RIP: A tribute to the marijuana-legalization icon by one of last writers to interview him


Jack Herer Won't Shut Up!
By Gregory Daurer
Medical Marijuana News and Directory​

No other book has seeded peoples' consciousness about cannabis quite like Jack Herer The Emperor Wears No Clothes (first published 1985). Within his book, Herer compiled a treasure trove of suppressed information about hemp: how it can be grown for food, fuel, clothing, paper, and medicine. Herer doesn't merely engage in speculation: he presents already-existing, authoritative source material for his skeptics. Herer tirelessly promoted the info at rallies nationwide during the '80s and '90s. This summer, the revised 12th edition of his groundbreaking masterpiece will be released.

Just like you might ask yourself after being presented with the same historical evidence, Herer asks, "How come I never learned anything about hemp when I was in school?" Herer can make you question what you've been told. And, once familiar with the benefits of hemp, he has a tendency to make people question themselves whether they're personally doing enough to promote healthy change, as well as ecological health.

Let's be clear about one thing: hemp hasn't exactly made the California-based Herer overly-mellow or unmotivated. Until you've been yelled at by Jack Herer, you haven't been yelled at. Known for his hard-charging personality, he's often been an army' of one: an activist drill sergeant barking commands-and belittling prohibitionist politicians like they're new recruits-as well as a tactician general with his eye on "Hemp for Victory!" ("Hemp for Victory" is the name of the film that the United States Department of Agriculture released during World War II in order to encourage farmers to grow hemp as a fiber crop for the war effort. Jack proved the bureaucrats wrong who claimed, decades after the film had been made, that it didn't exist. Among other finds, the book reprints the article about hemp from Popular Mechanics in 1938 called "New Billion-Dollar Crop:') What's so heartening about Herer is that he's still yelling at all. In 2000, Herer had a stroke from which he's still recovering. Words don't come as easy for him these days, but they still come in long, steady streams. And he still has a decent memory, recalling events that this writer had been privy to, but had long ago forgotten himself.

It's hard to shake the memory of Herer at hemp rallies in Colorado (as elsewhere) in the early '90s, spreading his biorevolutionary message which has spread globally since then. Herer is inciting hi listeners to take action on many fronts: whether writing a school report about hemp or telling a neighbor what he or she has learned; whether buying a pair of hemp Adidas or hemp Body Shop cream; or whether starting a hemp food business or a medical marijuana dispensary.

Hemp-and Herer- for Victory!

How are you doing physically, Jack?

After my stroke, it was three or four years before I could speak. Now I can speak a little bit. I only have about 15 percent of my vocabulary back and I can't speak to you with the same importance- with 100 percent of my vocabulary -from ten years ago, 20 years ago.

You sound to me like you're doing a fine job.

For four years I couldn't speak at all I was spitting out of my mouth after the stroke. And then I slowly came back. My left side came back, but my right side isn't as good: It's 80 percent nothing. My left side is 100 percent okay, and the right side is 20 percent okay.

Has marijuana helped you medicinally?

You can talk with me now. When I had the stroke they said I would have
three months to six months to live. And I will have a stroke again. I was 100
percent stoned from the day I had the stroke till now. And I'm okay. [Chuckles]

Have you learned anything recently about hemp that's surprised even you?

Have you ever seen the video about Rick Simpson's hemp oil? [Note: In Canadian Rick Simpson's video, numerous people say that they've been cured of cancer and other serious ailments by Simpson's ultra-concentrated hemp oil, which is made from marijuana.] I've been doing the hemp oil for 13 months. Everybody around me has been doing it for 13 months. Run From the Cure, write it down! Rick Simpson, www.phoenixtearsmovie.com. go and view that!

Are you saying that the hemp oil has helped you medicinally?

I got better. I got six broken ribs six weeks ago, and I was better in two, three weeks. I'm almost completely healed. I've been doing it for 13 months, almost every day- once, twice, three times a day. 50 percent of all people in the United States will get cancer. And we can get 99 percent of them cured in two days to two ~weeks to two months. You will get cured if you eat it every day. Or they won't have to cure you, because you'll never get sick.
You know who Eddy Lepp is?

He's a medical-marijuana. grower right?

And a patient. His wife died of cancer, and six months after that I heard about Phoenix Tears and RickSimpson. And Eddy smokes two packs of cigarettes a day and he never gave up smoking. Lung cancer and kidney cancer and melanoma: it's all cured. Nothing.

What have your thoughts been about medical marijuana in California?

Wonderful! Me and Dennis Peron went out and got a lot of the signatures. We put it on the ballot, and a lot of other people, they were helpful. But in 1996 we got it on the ballot, and even with the Clintons and Bushes and everybody against medical marijuana, we still passed it by 56 percent. There are about 1,300,000 people with doctors' notes in California right now. And there are one thousand doctors doing notes right now. In the beginning, there were only two or three doctors for five years doing notes.

Did you say there are about a million patients in California?

1,300,000. And it's going up about 50,000 to 100,000 people everyone or two months. There are about one thousand clinics.

Could you have imagined in the past that the day would come when you could go to a medical marijuana dispensary in 2009 and there would be thirty to forty different types of marijuana?

Yes. You could go to my home in the '70, '80s, or '90s and see that.

. [Chuckles] I remember when the "Jack Herer?" seed strain from the Sensi Seed Bank was introduced to the public at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam in 1994. Do you still smoke "Jack Herer"," as well?

Of course, but mostly grown indoors. And I like to grow outdoors. I don't like to do it indoors. They pay me a little bit of royalties. And that's the best selling seed variety in the world.

Have you ever been talking to someone who didn't know who you were-and they started telling you about hemp?

Where I lived-the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles-a lot of people live: two million. More than anybody else they know about hemp for medicine, hemp for food and fuel and clothing and everything else. And each and every one of those is the number one thing in the world naturally. Not the number two or three! But the number one thing in the world. Once in a while I'd get people who knew about hemp. Of course very few people know what I know about hemp from A-Z, because I've been doing it for 38 years, all the time, every book, everything I could read about hemp. I've been promoting hemp from 1975 till now. Because if you have hemp for food, hemp for medicine, you will live two to ten years longer than people who don't. Two years longer to ten years longer if you smoke hemp for
those things.

It seems like hemp's history has been suppressed.

80 to 90 percent of all clothing in the United States, in Russia, in China, and in Europe about a hundred years ago was made out of hemp. And we didn't know it in public school, high school, or college. And we don't tell it today. How come I didn't know? I was 33 years old. I thought I was a history major, I loved history. I didn't even know the f*ck*ng word "hemp!" It's healthy for the ground like no other plant. Three million plants and the number one plant in the world is hemp. When you went to school you didn't know this.

No, I didn't learn anything about hemp in school. The cotton gin. Sugar cane. But no, nothing about hemp. I'm 45 now.

I'm 25 years older than you.

What are some of your favorite hemp products?

I love everything made out of marijuana. For instance, I have underwear, they're 100% hemp. They were made for me and they're the best product. I've been wearing them for 14 years, maybe longer.

[Chuckles] Not the same pair?!

No, no! I've got five pairs and think I've one or two times gotten new ones. I just got new ones five months ago. It's the best thing in the world. You can wear them forever. ..It doesn't smell like cotton does. It's the best thing in the world ..[Chuckles]

Where do you see signs of progress for hemp these days?

I will tell you that in Germany in 2012 all plastics will have to be made from a natural source. And the number one plastic in the world will be hemp. 15-18 percent of their cars are made with hemp products. In 1993, there were no cars made from anything natural. They said, "That's a good idea, we have to do it by 2012 anyway:'

Yes, Mercedes-Benz and BMW use hemp these days in a composite material for their cars' dashboards and door panels.

I told the Germans about hemp 16 years ago when I went over to Germany and they published my book, and it was the number one book in the country for about 20 weeks. It was eventually the 9th biggest seller in Germany for the whole year, 1993 and 1994. And that was a hundred thousand books. Now, it's 150,000 books that have been sold in Germany.

It sounds like you helped inspire a bio-revolution in Germany.

They named my book Hanj , which is the German word for hemp. And I got about a $150,000 from it eventually.

That's pretty decent

Yeah, it's a lot better than the Japanese who published the book and don't send me any money. And the Koreans and the Australians and the French and the Italians and the Hungarians: they never sent me any money. They published the book. I say, "Where is the money?" and they don't answer me. I don't have a Random House; I have only one book.

It's been translated into all those languages like Korean and Japanese and French and Hungarian?

Yes.

And how about the editions here in the United States, how has it done?

Every year I came out with it, 10- 15,000 copies each year.

How many editions has it had?

There's a new one for 2009: Edition 12. It will be out this summer. Information about the Rick Simpson oil will be added to the back of the new book.

How many copies of The Emperor Wears No Clothes have been sold?

About 750,000 copies.

That's amazing. I've talked with some very famous fiction writers and they've
never sold anywhere near that. I still have my signed copy from 1991, by the way.

That was 150 pages. Now it's 300 pages.

I'm glad you brought up Germany a little earlier-how hemp is being used by BMW and Mercedes-Benz. I made a list of some of the other changes that have taken place since you started promoting hemp in The Emperor Wears No Clothes. When you were first promoting The Emperor there weren't any hemp clothes in stores yet. That was a new development in the '90s.

I had hemp products in my head shops in 1975.

You mean hemp rolling papers?

No, hemp clothing.

Oh, no kidding!

But nobody believed me. My friend "Captain Ed" and I were always in hempor a thirty percent or fifty percent hemp-clothing blend. Now I'm in hemp 80% of the time: 100% hemp. [Note: Herer dedicates The Emperor Wears No Clothes to the memory of his late cohort in the assimilation of hemp information-and in hemp flower inhalation- "Captain Ed" Adair, who died of leukemia in 1991].

So essentially in the early days, people thought you and "Captain Ed" were crazy, but they came around and realized that you were onto something all along?

20 f*ck*ng years they didn't believe me or Ed! 20 f*ck*ng years! And we were 100 percent right! I was always right about it. Ed and I are still partners. In Oregon we have the biggest head shop up there. His daughter and my daughter and sons are partners to this day. In Portland, on the southeast side: The Third Eye. For the last 22 years it was "Captain Ed's" and
my store. The biggest store in Portland. I went up to Oregon in '84, '85, '86, '90, '94. I went up there and we got a hemp legalization initiative on the ballot, but we didn't win. And then we won on the medical in '98. We put it on the ballot. We got all the signatures for nothing. 100,000 signatures over and over in Portland

Another thing that hadn't taken place yet was all the hemp body care products and all the hemp health foods. Hemp nut and hemp seed oil for sale in health food stores hadn't come about yet.

Everything we have promoted over the last thirty years has come to pass.

It's even in Dr. Bronner's soaps.

Dr. Bronner is a hero of mine! I just read that the Chinese are starting to feed their army hemp foods. All the soldiers in China will start using hemp cereal and hemp ... what did they use in "Oliver? ... gruel! Porridge made from hemp. The number one product in the world for healthy human beings is hemp. For instance, 50 percent of all food in China used to be made out of the hemp seed. 50 percent! 1,000 calories a day. Not rice until 1850, and then it got popular and hemp went down. Before that, it was 70 years-of-age the Chinese were living; and then they switched to rice and they get 60 years-of-age. They didn't know this, but that is what happened to them. Rice is okay but it's not a product like hemp. Hemp is the number one thing nutritionally on the planet until you get to soya or anything else.

Canada and Australia have licensed production

Yeah,but those laws are no f*ck*ng good! They're no f'ck'ng good for the world! All they can get out of those low- THC plants is seeds! They use hemp plants with a certain percent of one-percent THC. In 10 or 20 or 30 years that won't be enough to raise the crop.

So they can't raise hemp for fiber or... ?

In Canada, no. Because you can't get a fiber crop out of plants with 30 percent of one percent THC.

And why is that?

You have to have a certain amount of THC in the stalks, in the strands. THC is the plant's protection from the cold, and then the sun. The higher up a mountain you raise hemp, the more and more THC it will produce. Each and every year it will be stronger and stronger and stronger as long as you move up the mountain, 7,000 feet, 10,000. At lower elevations you don't have as high THC percentages anymore in ten or twenty or thirty years. It will be back to normal: 2 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent THC.

What do you think of Congressmen Ron Paul and Barney Frank's bill to legalize hemp production in the United States?

Can you explain it to me? I haven't really seen it. [Note: Jack'swife, Jeannie, researches the bill and tells Jack that it would authorize growing hemp "with a delta-9 THC content that does not exceed .03 percent"]

I take it that you're not really satisfied with that.

No, I will answer them back. I will send them a book. You can't have one percent of one percent! That is the end of mankind. F*ck them! I'm going to go against government even Ron Paul and Barney Frank. I like them, but they don't know sh*t about this plant. I'm going to go to Washington and the state Capitol here, and I want to talk about getting government out of the picture -1,000 percent! And I think anyone in the world that knows me knows I've never made a mistake about hemp.

What do you think has been the most significant thing that's happened since
you've started promoting hemp?

I thought change would happen 25 years ago, 30 years ago, 35 years ago. It's getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough. If I had it.to do over again I would make nothing illegal about hemp. You live two years longer if you smoke it every day. And people who don't smoke anything and who don't drink anything live two years less than people who smoke cannabis every day. I don't make a mistake. I do all my homework.

What tips do you have for raising consciousness?

Get out everybody to vote. You have to vote. You have to vote the bastards out! If they don't vote for hemp, vote the f*ck*ng bastards out of office, right now! Like Bush. And Obama: I don't understand, either he doesn't know ....

Jack, is there anything else that you want to add?

I believe that all forms of things have to be natural. 50 percent of chemicals in agriculture are used on cotton in the United States. What the f*ck is that about?

Go natural. That's the Jack Herer theme?

The best thing in the world and it's against the law. I'll tell ya, I'm getting mad at all the f*ck*ng silliness. Even the good guys- Ron Paul and Barney Frank-they're f*ck*ng chicken. I have to speak. Other people have to speak. They are good guys, but they just don't know. Everybody needs to write these guys. Hemp will save the world, and nothing else will.
 
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