Cannabis Pioneers #003 – Jack Herer

Welcome to the next installment of our groundbreaking feature at Hemp Living: the “Cannabis Pioneers” series! We are thrilled to celebrate those visionaries who have shaped the cannabis culture and industry, from legendary figures to emerging talents. Each edition will spotlight a key influencer who shares a profound passion for cannabis, just like us. Dive into our latest issue and join us on this enlightening journey with the Emperor of Hemp himself, Jack Herer!


When delving into the realm of influential figures in the cannabis world, one name rises above the rest: Jack Herer. Earning the moniker of the “Emperor of Hemp,” Jack Herer fervently championed the legalization of cannabis and hemp and authored the renowned book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.”

Early Beginnings

Jack Herer, a legendary figure in the cannabis community, had humble beginnings. He was born in 1939 and grew up in Buffalo, New York. Herer’s advocacy for cannabis and hemp can be traced back to his early experiences, including his time serving in the military.

After leaving the service, he moved to Los Angeles, where he became involved in the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s. It was during this time that he began his journey of activism and exploration of the potential uses of hemp and cannabis. His early experiences eventually led him to become one of the most influential figures in the modern cannabis movement.

Considered his magnum opus, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” is a groundbreaking literary work that meticulously delves into the rich history of cannabis and hemp. Through compelling narratives and detailed analysis, the book showcases these plants’ diverse and extensive applications while passionately advocating for their legalization. It continues to be a driving force in reshaping public attitudes towards cannabis and hemp, serving as an inspiration for advocates and enthusiasts dedicated to advancing these causes.

Among Jack Herer’s enduring legacies is a popular cannabis strain that bears his name. The Jack Herer strain is revered for its refreshing and stimulating effects, making it a beloved choice among medicinal and recreational users. Its acclaim is a testament to Herer’s profound impact on cannabis culture.

Daily Life

Jack Herer was not only a prolific writer but also a captivating speaker. He embarked on extensive journeys to spread awareness about the various advantages of hemp and cannabis. His tireless advocacy work significantly influenced the global dialogue on the legalization and utilization of these plants. A special shout out to this picture of Jack with fellow Marijuana and Hemp activist Dana Beal in our very own Madison, Wisconsin speaking at the 1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest.

His unrelenting dedication to his cause garnered widespread admiration within the cannabis community. His impactful endeavors were pivotal in highlighting the vast industrial potential of hemp and the valuable therapeutic properties of cannabis.

Herer was instrumental in founding the Third Eye Shoppe, a head shop in Portland, Oregon’s Hawthorne District. This historical cannabis-focused store played a crucial role in promoting cannabis culture and providing a platform for enthusiasts to explore a wide range of cannabis-related products. The Third Eye Shoppe’s legacy continued to influence the modern cannabis industry, reflecting Jack Herer’s enduring impact and passion for cannabis advocacy.

His Fight for Legalization

Jack Herer played a significant role in advocating for the legalization of marijuana in California. Herer tirelessly worked to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis and the need to end its prohibition. His book became a pivotal piece of literature in the cannabis legalization movement, providing historical and scientific evidence supporting the use of hemp for fuel, fiber, food, and medicine.

Herer’s relentless efforts in educating the public about the potential economic and environmental benefits of hemp and cannabis contributed to a shift in public opinion. He believed that legalizing marijuana could create new opportunities for farmers, reduce dependence on non-renewable resources, and alleviate the negative impacts of prohibition on society.

Moreover, Herer’s activism and advocacy efforts helped lay the groundwork for California’s Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. This groundbreaking legislation legalized medical marijuana in the state, making California the first in the United States to do so. The success of Proposition 215 paved the way for the eventual legalization of recreational marijuana in California and inspired similar reforms in other states.

Why Celebrate Jack?

Although Jack Herer passed away in 2010, his legacy endures through the ongoing efforts of activists and advocates across the globe. The impact of his work continues to resonate in the ongoing strides toward the legalization and destigmatization of cannabis and hemp, alongside the growing acknowledgment of their diverse benefits.

Jack Herer’s unwavering devotion to cannabis and hemp advocacy has left an indelible mark on the industry, and his influence persists as a wellspring of inspiration for propelling positive change. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis legislation and culture, we pay tribute to the profound legacy of the Pioneer of Hemp, Jack Herer.

“I’m not saying Hemp is going to save the world. But it’s the only thing that can.”

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