Who in the Weed was
Food, Fiber, Fuel, Fun, Medicine.
The legal access to weed we enjoy now, for most modern smokers, is new. And while the trend sweeps the nation, and national legalization is on our doorstep, it’s important to look back at some of the figures who got us there. Legalization is a movement that has pushed against the U.S. and international prohibition, and one of the biggest voices in the history of this movement was Jack Herer. You might know more about the strain than its namesake. A spicy and citrus-sativa perfect for getting stuff done, reflecting the nature of the man himself.
A fiery hemp activist, Herer was born in 1939, and grew up in Buffalo, New York. He was the youngest of three kids. He served in the Korean war, then moved to making a living off painting signs. Jack got into cannabis in his early 30s, gave up painting, and opened a head shop on Venice Beach. It’s said that it was his girlfriend who got him to smoke because, “He was too boring otherwise.”
Herer wrote his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes in 1985. It was born from Herer’s passion for the plant, a compilation of uses and benefits of cannabis, and data, statistics and accounts that supported legalization. He narrates the devastation of the planet from climate change while he expresses the many solutions that cannabis has to offer. He presents solutions to medical conditions, promoting the use of cannabis for pain management and its anti-anxiety properties.
Jack Herer promoted the idea of the entire plant, not just the dried flower, being useful for addressing the problems that we as the world face. He worked to reveal the diverse and far-reaching history of cannabis through societies. Dating back at the earliest to 8,000 B.C. cannabis has had a powerful impact. Herer tracked the course it took in America, from being one of the most abundant and accessible medicines on the frontier, to the huge number of farms and plantations in the states, some of which were regulated to grow more cannabis in times of scarcity.
Herer died in April of 2010 at the age of 70. After a later-life of fighting off heart-attacks, he finally succumbed to the final big one after giving a speech in Portland, Oregon. He would die months later due to the lingering damage. But the movement did not die with him. As an eternal testament to his lifelong pursuit, the back cover of The Emperor Wears No Clothes challenges readers to disprove the fact, with a bet of $100,000, that cannabis is essential to answer the problems that face the world.