NORML Remembers ‘The Hemperor’ Jack Herer

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. Thank you so much Jack for never giving up on this world, or in the belief that we could make it better through smart use of Hemp and Marijuana.

    The King is Dead. Long live the King!!

  2. Thanks Jack, for getting the ball rolling to show how safe and useful cannabis is and how all the prohibitionist rhetoric is just stale, hot air that can’t hold water.

    My only regret is that I never got to meet you and have you sign my copy of The Emperor Wears No Clothes and that you won’t be around to see legal cannabis.

    You left us too early by at least five days or five decades. May God bless you with your own planet of cannabis.

  3. Rest in Peace, my friend. Rest assured the others will continue your work. God Bless your family.

  4. As a Fellow Canabissionary…I will Keep UP The Fight…I am a Medical Marijuana Patient. Legal since 2008. Thanks to all those wHO aRE kEEPING tHE fIGHT.we THANK jk.fOR ALL HES DONE.tHERFORE we will kEEP eDUCATING tHOSE aROUND us….Education IS THE KEY…..Please Join ME and All The Freedom Fighters for Weed and Continue to Educate on THE Medical Values…This is THE KEY….LOVINGS, Wilmsie

  5. When we do get it legal it will be in his honor and all the fallen freedom fighters. The silver lining to this dark cloud is he got to see it start happening and he’s suffering no longer.

  6. I am absolutely in shock that Jack passed away. I was honored and humbled by his quick response to a message I sent to him pointing out a very minor typo on his website .

    R.I.P. Jack you touched more people can you can possibly imagine, and you will not have died in vain!

  7. We have lost another great crusader in this never ending battle to free ourselves from cannabis prohibition. I hope that I live long enough to see the end of prohibition. If I do I will be burning one down for all of those very special people of fought for the right to live free. Especially my old friend Don Fielder.

  8. Jack Herer was an inspiration to millions, myself included. We wouldn’t know a 10th of what we know about Cannabis without Jack. He will be missed. Jack saw to it that we would win, even if it was without him.

  9. There’s no such thing as “goodbye forever” death. He’s simply somewhere else, still helping us in other ways.

    Like ice that melts, it simply returns to the ocean eventually.

  10. From the entire NORML family, thank you Jack for 30 years of cannabis law reform advocacy–notably for providing the catalyst to the re-birth of ‘hemp’ in America by writing and promoting The Emperor of Hemp.

    RIP Jack Herer…the only person ever to win TWO lifetime achievement awards from NORML.

    How fitting!

    -Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director
    Member, Board of Directors
    Washington, DC

  11. Farewell to our Dear Brother in arms! I pray Jack that everyone smart enough to read your book; has the eagerness and want to fully allow the religious use of Cannabis now and forever!

    Legally, Cannabis being a religious sacrament (Exodus 30:23) it is legal to use for religious use as according the 1st Amendment. But does your local Prosecutor believe this and uphold your 1st Amendment or deny you have religious rights simply because his “Cultural” perspective has taught him to hate all people who use “cannabis”, as though everyone who uses it does so just to appear criminal before the courts!

    I’m out.. I need some drinking w/bob on You Tube! Late!
    Keshet Israel

  12. thank you jack for everything you have done for the movement i will miss you like i miss jerry

  13. Jack, we will all miss you. Thank you for being the leader in spreading the truth about Marijuana and Hemp. I wish you could be with us this November when California passes the proposition to decriminalize and tax our sacrament.

  14. “From the sweet grass too the packing house,we travel between these two eternities.”
    He has left us with his dream so close too fruition,
    Condolences too his family and friends.

  15. Thanks Jack, a true American Icon, the truth will set us free, thanks to you! It is time to spark up the Double Barrel, Double Venturi, Ricocheting Vortex Effect pipe I bought from him in “93”,he packed it and handed it to me and lit it, what an experience! I will always cherish my many times with Jack at his booth Hempfest Seattle. He was my friend and hero,I will carry on his battle as he did! 420

  16. RIP Jack. How very sad to see you go. We will see you in the afterlife. Your good deeds live on as do your teachings.

  17. I bought his book a couple months ago.
    Haven’t read through it all, but Jack, consider it done. I will learn all I can about the movement, as you wanted those to have and will spread activism as you did.

    Rest in peace, this April 20th will be commemorated to you.

    4/20 FOR JACK !

  18. Gonna` light my old Jack bowl up also . Gonna` miss ya` friend ! Hopefully there`s a new young warrior to slightly fill your shoes for the future . peace…burnie

  19. I just purchased his book online last night…….this is such a shock I just read on his website that he was recovering well. I am extremely sad. The strain named after him will help me through the grieving process. Jack you will be missed, I hope they find a way to get the Mushroom book that you were working on published.


    Brian Kent Horton

  20. Peace, Love, and Flower Power Jack.

    Personally, I don’t believe that when the physical body dies that’s it. (sorry for those who think “we have one life to live”).

    Jack amassed a tremendous amount of good karma, he will be rewarded in the next life.

  21. I’ll miss you Jack, it was great knowing you… say hi to wheelchair Angie while you’re up there, she be glad to see you again.

  22. You will forever be missed Jack!
    You led a very influential and vigilant life,
    never afraid to speak your mind and question authority!

    We all need to light a joint in remembrance of the great Hemporer!

    We owe it to Jack as cannabis consumers to do all that we can to pass The Control & Tax Cannabis 2010 Campaign!
    We could officially end marijuana prohibition in California this November!

  23. Sorry to to say that the light has left the room and those of us that remain behind find our self in a darker place.

  24. Dear Jack, no doubt you will be training folks the “hear after” on cultivation. You will be missed.

  25. Jack died? No. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed. He didicated his life to educating people about the truth. Sad day.

  26. I’m especially glad that they will build a memorial for him, and I plan on visiting it one day as soon as I can.

  27. Now is the time to re-commit to the cause that Jack, in essence, gave his life for. Pick up the flag Jack carried, and carry it for him, until his pledge to us is met.


  28. Jack – Your hopes and dreams will come true soon. We are all following in your footsteps.

    Hopefully your passing will bring even more out to help fight the good fight in your name.

    Rest In Peace

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