Cannabis activist, author, and strain namesake Jack Herer’s birthday is an international weed lover’s holiday. While Herer died in 2010, June 13th marks what would be the notable hemp crusader’s 81st birthday, so here’s five surprising facts to enjoy as you celebrate.
1. Jack Herer Was Anti-Weed, But Changed His Opinion
You may be shocked to find that Jack Herer wasn’t always a cannabis lover. In fact, he was anti-cannabis for a while because he disagreed with the politics of the 60s era counterculture movement. As a Vietnam veteran, he was particularly critical of some of the antiwar politics that he perceived as “un-American.” It’s even rumored that his first wife’s refusal to quit smoking pot was a factor behind their split!
Herer may have had strong opinions against cannabis at the time, but he was a man who kept an open mind. When he discovered the benefits of cannabis (and the minimal potential side effects), he completely changed his mind. The more he educated himself, the more passionate he became, and so Jack Herer became the pro-cannabis activist we honor today.
2. Jack Herer Began Writing His Bestseller While Sitting in Jail
By 1983, Jack Herer was a passionate activist for a number of grassroots organizations, as well as providing information and assistance to help voters register. In this year, he refused to leave a parking lot where he was collecting petition signatures and was arrested for trespassing on federal property. Rather than pay a $5 fine, Herer opted for 14 days in jail...a decision he probably doesn’t regret.
It was sitting in his jail cell that Herer got the idea for his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and began writing. Two years later, The Emperor hit bookstore shelves and quickly became a bestseller. Since then, Herer’s book (also known as “The Bible of Hemp”) has been printed in twelve editions with global circulation and is revered as the catalyst of the modern hemp and cannabis revolution.
3. Jack Herer Ran For President...Twice
Formerly a conservative “Goldwater Republican,” Jack Herer ran for president both in 1988 and 1992 as an independent. By this time, Herer was actively lobbying for cannabis decriminalization and legalization, and had shifted from a libertarian-leaning-republican to a member of the Grassroots Party.
Grassroots evolved from the Farmer-Labor Party; a rather successful Minnesota movement centered on fair wages to agricultural workers after the Great Depression. The economic principles were later applied to hemp farming, which encompassed cannabis legalization, and so the Grassroots Party was born.
Although he didn’t get many votes either attempt (just under 2,000 and 4,000 votes, respectively), Jack Herer is beloved as a leader in the hemp and cannabis political movement.
4. He Wasn’t Just About the Smoking
Jack Herer smoked his first joint at age 30, after reading about the medical benefits of marijuana, long used as medicine across geography and cultures. Herer certainly promoted his enlightened understanding of smoking weed, but that wasn’t his only motive.
Jack Herer saw the economic and environmental potential of hemp as an inexpensive and renewable resource. His book The Emperor spoke to the myriad of potential uses of cannabis, both in medicine and industry, but also spoke out against the government for suppressing hemp information from its citizens in favor of big money industries. Herer claimed greed and profit were the real motives behind outlawing cannabis, and that Americans should be free to grow and use cannabis as both medicine and enterprise.
5. Jack Herer Didn’t ‘Invent’ The Strain With His Name
The cannabis strain known as Jack Herer (Jh) was developed by weed breeders in the Netherlands during the mid 90s. The growers’ goal was to create a blissful, euphoric feeling that also cleared the head and energized one’s creative side.
The potent sativa-dominant strain was a success, and the Dutch developers named the new strain Jack Herer to honor his potent and creative contribution to cannabis.
The strain Jack Herer is known for a distinctive flavor as well. Our O.penVAPE RESERVE Jack Herer delivers the strains’ signature sour citrus flavor thanks to the terpenes myrcene (found in mangoes and citrus fruits) and terpinolene (tastes like herbs, pine, and nutmeg). The combination of pure, fully activated cannabis oil and pure terpenes give the authentic Jack Herer experience in a cartridge.
Whatever your Saturday plans, take a moment to be grateful to Jack Herer for his contribution to our freedom of cannabis, the reminder to keep an open mind and educate ourselves, and the inspiration to take a stand for social and political change.
Here’s to you, Hemperor!