NORML Remembers ‘The Hemperor’ Jack Herer

Jack Herer (June 18, 1939 - April 15, 2010) - The Emperor of Hemp
Jack Herer (June 18, 1939 - April 15, 2010) - The Emperor of Hemp

NORML is saddened to report the passing of Jack Herer, the founder of the modern day hemp movement. Jack suffered a heart attack after speaking at last year’s Portland Hempstalk event, and had been in a physician-induced coma for several days afterward.  The past seven months have been a struggle to recover for Jack – he awakened from the coma and had been making progress in regaining his health. Friends and family confirm that Herer, known throughout the world as ‘The Hemperor,’ passed away on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:07am Pacific Time in Eugene, Oregon. He was 70 years old.

Jack began his cannabis activism in earnest in the early 1970s when he “swore to work every day until pot was legal, … or [he] turned 84.” Throughout the next ten years he led several statewide marijuana legalization efforts on west coast, primarily in California and Oregon.

Jack received worldwide attention in recognition in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the publication of his seminal work, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which has now sold over 600,000 copies — making it the most widely read marijuana law reform title ever published. The book’s tagline, “How hemp can still save the world,” introduced hundreds of thousands of activists to the environmental and industrial uses of cannabis, which in turn relaunched the modern day hemp movement and global hemp industry. While researching his book, Jack unearthed a copy of the long-lost United States Department of Agriculture film, “Hemp for Victory,” which documented the federal government’s previous support for domestic hemp cultivation.

Jack’s dedication to cannabis activism was the subject of the 1989 film documentary, The Emperor of Hemp. Shortly following the release of the film, Jack suffered a stroke, which temporarily limited his speech and mobility. However, by mid-2000 Herer appeared to have made almost a full recovery from his illness, a feat he credited to the power of hemp’s therapeutic properties.

Today Jack’s name and memory lives on in the hemp activism of the millions who were influenced by his words and passion. The popular cannabis strain Jack Herer also bears his name.

NORML expresses its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Jack Herer.

79 thoughts

  1. RIP Jack.

    You’ve passed the torch on to the rest of us and it is now and forever our duty to carry on and do what we have to do to legalize it once and for all.

    Your legacy will not be forgotten.

  2. Jack, I will light up in your honor today and meditate on how you stuck your neck out there and made a difference to many millions of people.
    I will do my best to continue in your huge footsteps… Thank you for setting such a great example. Smoke a bowl with the Lord for me buddy!!!! Much love and condolences to Jack’s family.

  3. Jack, rest in peace now, you deserve it. If not for you, I and millions of others would not have come to learn the truth of hemp and cannabis. I have dedicated much of my free time in the last two years to cannabis activism, specifically the CannabisTV.org website and participating in community activism locally.

    Thank you for a lifetime of fervent effort towards such a worthwhile cause. The 21st century generation has heard your message and we will pick up the torch, or joint as the case may be, and continue working toward freeing cannabis, putting it back in its rightful place in society, as you proclaimed.

    Goodbye friend.

  4. I’ve followed Jacks work for 40 years. I’m truley saddened that He did Not see his Dream come to fruision. It will just make the rest of us more aware of what our goal is. We will endeavor to perservear! Till this unjustified law is changed.
    Sending my deepest Sympathy to Jacks Family. I’m also greatful that HIS LEGACY OF THE STRAIN OF JACK HERER WILL CONTINUE TO BURN BRIGHT. FOREVER!

  5. RIP man will take it from here!!! You were a great man that did great things for marijuana legalization and i for aprrieciate it god bless your family through this tough and tragic time.. 1 more thing man

    THIS BUD FOR YOU!!!!!

  6. medical California — Dunsmuir’s mayor and a medicinal marijuana collective owner want to plant a marijuana garden smack-dab in the middle of the city’s historical business district. “We’re trying to bring the growing of medical cannabis out of the darkness of an underground market and into the legal light,” said Mayor Peter Arth.

    Arth, himself a medical marijuana patient, wants to lease three commercial lots he owns at Dunsmuir Avenue and Cedar Street to Green-Collar Compassionate Collective owner Leslie Wilde. The property is across the street from the Siskiyou County sheriff’s substation

  7. Hey everybody ! Just a reminder in case you’ve forgotten to continue to Boycott , Kellogs . Don’t forget how they tried ruining , Michael Phelps career over a toke of Cannabis .

    BOYCOTT , KELLOGS

    …………and as for you , Mr. Herer , may you rest in peace .

  8. Jack,
    You will be remembered when we get legalization and we all light up on capital hill and smoke one last one on you!
    RIP Jack

  9. Great !! Just what we need is to push the sales out into the Street !

    California — Hundreds of Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries will soon be notified that they must shut down in June, when the city’s ordinance to control the stores is expected to take effect.

    On Friday, the City Council approved the last piece of its ordinance, the fees that dispensaries will pay to operate, ending a drawn-out legislative process and a legal vacuum that allowed dispensaries to spread unchecked. The council first started to debate marijuana dispensaries nearly five years ago and took almost two years from the time it first received a draft ordinance to adopt the final version.

    “It was the wild, Wild West for weed in Los Angeles for some time, and we are going in the direction to finally take control of the situation,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, who pressed for some of the toughest restrictions after residents in Eagle Rock complained about the proliferation of dispensaries.

    The council approved the medical marijuana ordinance in January, but it cannot be enforced until the fees are approved by the mayor and published. That is expected to be around June 4.

    Under the ordinance, the only dispensaries that can remain in business are those that registered when the city adopted a moratorium in 2007 and are still in business.

    City officials have estimated that number is 137. All other collectives will receive warning letters after the mayor signs the law and cease-and-desist letters in June.

    Operators of the dispensaries that would be forced to shut down have been weighing their options. At least 25 dispensaries plan to file lawsuits next week. “We believe we have a legitimate right to exist,” said Dan Halbert, who runs Rainforest Collective in Mar Vista.

    David Welch, the attorney representing the 25 collectives, said the suits would challenge the preferential treatment for collectives that registered under the moratorium. He noted that a Superior Court judge has ruled that the City Council illegally extended the moratorium, so the ban was not in place when most dispensaries opened.

    Only a few medical marijuana activists showed up for the council’s vote. Most were dispensary operators who will be allowed to stay open. They complained the ordinance was too restrictive, saying many operators have not found sites that comply with the location requirements, including the 1,000-foot setback from churches, schools and parks.

    “It has a lot of holes that need to be plugged up, and if they don’t get plugged up, we may end up without an ordinance, and that would be the worst thing that could happen in Los Angeles today,” said Yamileth Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center on South La Cienega Boulevard and heads an association of collectives.

    Bill Rosendahl was the only council member to vote against the fees. He lambasted the overall medical marijuana ordinance as too prohibitive. “I think it’s just totally insane and over the top,” he said.

    Huizar said the council could amend the ordinance. “We will see how it works in practical terms and come back and adjust it if we have to,” he said.

    The dispensary fees were not controversial. In addition to standard costs, a manager registering a dispensary would have to pay about $1,200 in special fees. Huizar called them “reasonable and sensible.

  10. IT WOULD NOW BE APPROPRIATE TO ESTABLISH “JACK HERER DAY” AMONG THE CANNABIS CULTURE. TO EDDY LEPP, MY DEEPEST SORROW FOR YOU MY FRIEND.

  11. Jack Herer, may we continue to HEAR the thunder of your voice calling us to action, to SMELL the heavenly aroma of the Cannabis Hemp Plant, to TASTE the lovely fruits of hemp foods that are so healthy for us, to FEEL the luscious touch of hemp clothing against our bodies and to SEE Cannabis Hemp legalized and respected ,as it once was in the past! You brought us all so much knowledge about Hemp, that was hidden from us for decades! Thank you for not giving up, when people didn’t, at first, believe you. You told me that everyone even laughed at you, thought you were a “crazy loon” and wouldn’t even read your book. You walked Venice Beach and talked to every person who would listen to you about Hemp. You walked your talk and talked your walk until “THEY”, finally, believed you! The truth came to light, as it always does! I have found COURAGE & FREEDOM with your words of advice and wisdom! I miss your beaming smile that always lit up when you were happy to see someone you loved, your strong but gentle hugs and your calls asking me “what are you doing, now?” For NOW is when we need to act to see the change we desire. What you brought to the WORLD was a gift of love and hope for a dying planet! Your Mom, I’m sure, is so proud of you (as we all are) and I know she is happy to have you with her, now! (You’ve always missed her, so!) Jack, I wish you sweet, sweet peace, dear heart, and may the rest of us aspire to continue what you have started!

  12. Too little too late from NORML, MPP, Oaksterdam and the new ‘cabal’ of ‘tax and regulate’ former legalization groups. Jack abhorred the concept of taxing cannabis from the very start. His ‘legal like tomatoes’ approach flew in the face of the new marijuana millionaires plan to corner the legal market, much the same way RJR, etc cornered the cigarette market.

    During the Reagan years, even mighty NORML ran to the closet while activists like Jack and Dennis Peron crafted prop 10 almost single handed.

    Your accolades ring hollow. No one at NORM is worthy of carrying this man’s body to his grave. Your tax and regulate schemes is a spit on his grave. It is not what he wanted.

    Rest well, soldier. You deserved it.

    [Editor’s Note: Your demonizing NORML while deifying Jack Herer makes no sense. NORML didn’t run to the closet in the 1980s at all…in fact it was the only group to ‘fight the good fight’ until is spawned the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutic in 1982, and the Drug Policy Foundation in 1986. NORML vs DEA was originally decided in 1988…and started the network of state-based chapters and lawyers. Who doesn’t support the “Tomatoes Market’ model”? Is that politically realistic? Is the idea that hemp, or any single plant species can “save the earth” as Jack Herer extolled realistic or credible? No.

    Jack Herer is not responsible for Prop. 215. Jack Herer, Dale Gieringer (NORML board member from CA NORML), Bill Panzer (NORML board member from NLC in CA), Dennis Peron, John Entwistle, etc…a total of about 10 activists drafted Prop. 215…but like most then and nearly all initiatives today, activists may draft the language, but either DPA or MPP (and their billionaire funding base, who couldn’t stand Jack and and unlike NORML didn’t work with him…) do ALL the signature gathering, lawyering, public relations, etc…

    Today, the one legalization initiative that has qualified for the ballot in CA was funded by a cannabisbusiness owner and NORML believes that the passage of TaxCannabis2010 is the most important reform project of the year for the organization.

    You can interpret an organization supporting an alternative to prohibition like legally controlling cannabis like alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and over-the-counter medicine as “spit on his grave”, but you’re both wrong and ignorant if you really believe such.]

  13. The movement he spawned will live on. The entire world, whether it realizes it or not, deserves your thanks Jack.

  14. Someday I’ll tell you all my Jack Herer stories. You won’t believe them. I didn’t believe them as they were happening to me. That dude is one of the worst people I have ever met. Ask ANYONE who has ever done business with him. He was a thief in the worst possible way. He would steal any WEED that was left out on the table. Growers would come up to him to show him what they had grown, to get his opinion and he would stick his hand in the bag, grab an handful and literally put it in his pocket. Most people wouldn’t say anything just stand here in shock as their idol stole their WEED. I know it’s not what you guys want to hear, but it is the truth. Most of the old hippie guard in the WEED movement are gypsy thieves who will rob you blind if they get the chance. Also, Jack’s posse grew really crappy weed….I mean really crappy. I was fronted 2 pounds to try n sell, I never even opened the bags.

    Hate to be the guy to ruins the memories, but this guy was a major dick. We owe him a debt of gratitude for being the only one in the legalization movement who would use his real name and for leading the charge of legalization, but please know that he was an unpleasant person to be around and he gave no thought to victimizing members of the movement at every possible opportunity. Jack felt like all the pot smokers in the world owed him all of their WEED and pipes and he was not afraid to steal it all. I have done business with the man, hung out with him socially and professionally (way more than I would have liked) and I can say that he was a major douche that most of you would have hated…not disliked…HATED.

    Anyone coming to THC Expo can hear about some of Jack’s techniques for stealing WEED, merchandise and credibility from the modern WEED movement.

    Not trying to piss anybody off, but not telling you guys the truth on this one would amount to my own lie, and I’m not going to start that now, cause I don’t want to end up hated and alone the way Jack Herer did. He spent his final years surrounded by leaches trying to live off his fame. He hated them, they hated him, it was a really f’d up scene.

    Rest In Peace Jack, I hope my legacy is a little less felonious.

    P.S. He used to be my idol too

  15. Long ago I thought marijuana was bad and thought I had: a drug problem. But still I wanted to expand my mind!

    Thanks to Jack and “Emperor” I now know that I was right all along. Marijuana is medicine! And Hemp is as good as ‘fossil’ fuel.

    Love and Creational light till the next incarnation. RIP for now….

  16. Meanwhile, Poppy Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest if those old farts that sold their soul to the Devil live on….life ain’t fair.

    Happy Trails Jack.

  17. Rest in peace, big guy. You have been the inspiration for so many generations of ‘heads…

    Now to everyone else: let’s keep that torch burning and not let all of his hard work go to waste! Jack spent decades breaking down walls for us, so it’s our duty to keep the fight going. We’re almost there…can’t you smell the green?

    I can.

  18. Far from an idol, but still an example. Although I didn’t know him personally, I learned a lot from him and -mostly- from his book.
    Respect!

  19. I had actually had several chances to meat the great Hemperor in several different cities esp in Eugene,OR.. Great man very knowledgeable, books are outstanding and very informative. Due to his passing several refore commitees are sadden, now he is with the great power upstairs and sits, stands, smokes with God himself. Oue time is now as individuals to stand up for ourselves and not back down let everyone kow that Marijuana is very useful to the people when used in the right ways. At a $38 billion dollar cash crop system and the way it can and could be used to make of a more enjoyable atmosphere people and our gov’t need to llok back at the progress that it was making as well as headlines and quit the prohibition, moving forward to a better ourselves into creating a successful economy so that our system can start repairing itself and not deteriate itself.

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