Healthy Leaf Organics Celebrates Jack Herer: ‘The Emperor of Hemp!’

by Karen Mason - Posted 1 month ago

The Cannabis Movement would NOT be the same without the contributions of Jack Herer – lovingly known as the…."Emperor of Hemp".


Jack was an American Cannabis Rights Activist, and Author of the 1985 Book, ”The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Jack also founded and served as the Director of the Organization Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP).


As an Activist, he advocated for the decriminalization of the Cannabis Plant and argued that it could be used as a renewable source of fuel, medicine, food, fiber, and paper/pulp and that it can be grown in virtually any part of the world for medicinal as well as economic purposes.

The Early Years

Jack Herer was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 18th, 1939. After being raised in Buffalo, New York, At 17, Jack joined the US Army; where he was a Military Policeman during the Korean War. In his own words, Jack was a “Goldwater Republican” at this stage in his life, speaking out against anti-war protestors throughout most of the ’60s, even naming his eldest son Barry.

After a divorce at the age of 27, Jack moved to California and resided there for the majority of his life. In the Summer of 1969, Jack had his first experience with Cannabis – smoking what he called, “The Sammy Davis Jr. Strain” of Acapulco Gold. From this watershed experience, Jack Herer became what friends called, “A most vigorous zealot”.


In 1973, while working with California Marijuana Initiative, Jack made a commitment with friend and business partner Ed Adair that they would continue working until Cannabis was legalized, or until they were 84 years old, or until death.

Jack also Co-Authored G.R.A.S.S: Great Revolutionary American Standard System, a cartoon strip that was the official guide for assessing the quality of Cannabis on a 1-10 scale.

This widely read cartoon strip sent Jack Herer into semi-celebrity status. When he opened the world’s 1st Hemp Store in Venice Beach, his celebrity status was further solidified. At this Store, Jack invented different smoking accessories, immersed himself in the study of all things Cannabis, and launched campaigns for Cannabis Legalization.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

From here, Jack began what he would later call his biggest achievement in life. After more than a decade spent researching and organizing, and condensing all the facts, Jack published his now epochal Book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.”

First published in 1985, the book explores the real reasons that led to the criminalization of hemp in the US. Herer’s Book includes source documents from Congressional hearings in the 1930s that show how the 1937 Marijuana Act was railroaded through legislation. He explores the idea that, with DuPont’s advent of nylon, the petroleum industry had unique interests to undermine Hemp Cultivation after World War I. With the criminalization of Hemp, Jack claimed that 80% of DuPont’s products can freely exist.


Jack further stated not only are hemp-industrial goods are higher in quality & efficiency; but, that if petroleum products were replaced with hemp products--the Greenhouse Effect would reverse, and global pollution would begin to decline. While the book was criticized by skeptics at the time, Jack Herer posed a challenge on the back cover to any doubter who read his Book: “$100,000 to anyone who can disprove the claims made within.” To date, the $100,000 check still remains uncashed

H.E.M.P: The Strain Is Born

Herer’s book spread like a wildfire through the California cannabis movement. Soon, Jack’s words led to more activists and outreach movements. Herer founded and served as director of the organization Help End Marijuana Prohibition (H.E.M.P.), which acted as a principal voice in rallying the legalization movement throughout the US. From his efforts, Jack Herer became a folk legend in the Cannabis Community. His words and notoriety stretched across the Atlantic to aid in the European Legalization of cannabis movements.


His influence led Sensi Seeds, a Dutch cannabis seed bank founded in 1985, to cultivate the now famous Jack Herer strain. While the exact formula is a well-guarded industry secret, Jack Herer is thought to be the product of Haze, Northern Light #5, and Shiva Skunk. This sativa-dominant hybrid has between 15-24% THC, and smells of an awakening orange-lemon scent; while emitting a dark pine flavor. Consumers experience a well-balanced cerebral & body high that leaves them attentively relaxed. This feeling leads to waves of creativity and sociability. Jack Herer is easily enjoyed as a day-time pick-me-up to help reinvigorate your energy, retune your focus, and relax your ailments.

Due to its flavor, effects, and medicinal properties, Jack Herer is a wildly popular strain for novice to seasoned cannabis consumers, winning nine Cannabis Cup Titles

Posthumous Accolades

Having lived in California for the majority of his life, Jack saw the state as his home. With his two Hemp Stores—in Venice Beach and Van Nuys, respectively; Jack’s base of operations was set in The Golden State. It was here he made a pact to spend the rest of his life fighting for legalization. It was here he researched and gathered all the materials necessary to publish what would be his most cherished achievement and challenge the sea of skeptics to prove him wrong. It was here he also awakened a new generation of Activists & Organizers to spearhead grassroots efforts and enact societal change.

Sadly, Jack Herer passed away on April 15, 2010; at the age of 71.

Subsequently, when The Adult Use of Marijuana Act was passed on November 9, 2016---legalizing personal use and cultivation of Cannabis for anyone 21 years or older; those who knew Jack revered & celebrated his work in his memory.

Although Jack did not get to reap the seeds he had spent most of his life sowing, the Cannabis Movement would not have summited the mountains we stand on today without his work. Jack’s name lives on in his work, and in the Strain that has brought so many people to his work. Further, Jack Herer embodied the energy and focus of a man who never relented, never faltered, and always persisted – even in spirit – to reacquaint mankind with an old friend.

The Emperor’s Legacy

Currently, a sativa-dominant hybrid strain of cannabis] was named after Jack in honor of his work. The ‘Jack Herer Strain’ was originally created by Sensi Seeds. Today almost all seed banks carry their own take on this famous cannabis favorite. This strain has won several awards, including the 7th High Times Cannabis Cup. 

So, as June 18 would have been Jack’s 85th Birthday, let’s give thanks to the Man who made a significant difference in the Cannabis Industry!!!