Jack Herer: The Painting Of A Sign For Cannabis


There are several things that go through your mind as a mentor passes. I lost my mentor many years ago. That mentor treated and gave me just as much attention as did the fields of Cannabis we grew. So to that I say “Thank You Old Man”. This is the praise that I will always give to my mentor.

With great sadness it has been overshadowed by the loss of an immense man who has been responsible for not only mentoring, but converting millions of people and their perception of Cannabis. Jack taught us that there is a way to save not only ourselves, but mother earth as well. We have been given the answer to all our problems, yet we choose; or rather the government chooses to pay no attention to an innate plant that can save the lives of millions if not billions of people.

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. That 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 and 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 fuck 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 “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 proverbial 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. Jacks 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 then ever. With this colossal milestone reached, a great loss was felt. It wasn’t the loss of the presidency; it was the loss of Jacks partner Captain Ed Adair in 1991.

With Herer leading the charge into battle, he persisted in making 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 15 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 a Hemp Stalk Festival, then all of a sudden another major heart attack that would force him to be given CPR for 20 minutes until an ambulance could arrive. After several days in critical condition our king the great Jack Herer passed away.

The Greatest Loss in History

Jack Herer passed on, and left behind him nothing short of a mythical legacy that is worthy to be 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 billions if not millions 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 has 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's fight till 84, or till its legal. Preferably the latter part, but hey an 84 year old can still hold a picket sign, sign a ballot, or even simply plant a seed.

So for 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 fathers 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 his very own hybrid of Cannabis. The hybrid known as "Jack Herer" is a cross of: Skunk #1 x Northern Lights #5 x Haze. This strain (Jack Herer) has gone on to win several prestigious awards, along with being regarded as one of the most potent and sought after strains ever produced. Along with having a strain named after him, our noble Jack Herer would go on to be inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame in 2003. This honor was bestowed upon Jack as an acknowledgment for his career not only as an author but as a great leader & advocate in the fight for the decriminalization of Cannabis.)

Author: The Butcher
420 Magazine Staff Writer
I have probably read this 15 or 20 times when I need further inspiration, when it seems I keep running into the same ignorant arguments. Any person I have convinced to try Cannabis, from Personal to Medical use, 99%, especially those with Chronic Health problems continue to use Cannabis.

This article is well written Butcher and I, as do most in the community of this fight for freedoms and justice of choice commend you and others like it.

If we would all JUST TALK to someone new each day about the benefits of Cannabis, if not just the truth, it is Criminal to stop its usage, not the other way around, we can ALL make a small difference, if nothing more in the Legacy of Jack.
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