Jack Herer, 1939-2010
Jack Herer, the iconic advocate of cannabis legalization, self-described “Emperor of Hemp,” and author of the manifesto, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, died in Eugene, Oregon at the age of 70.
Herer, the driving force behind a competing marijuana legalization initiative aiming for the November California ballot, had suffered heart attacks and strokes in recent years. A major stroke in 2000 left him with difficulty speaking and partial paralysis on his right side. He made a significant recovery and credited his resilience, in part, to psychoactive mushrooms. Most recently, he was hospitalized for a debilitating heart attack that struck him while attending the September, 2009, Hempstalk Festival in Portland, Oregon.
In his book, Herer borrowed from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Emperor’s New Clothes to explain his belief that government has conspired to mislead the public about the dangers of cannabis, partially to protect investments in the “pharmaceutical, energy and paper industries; and to give these poisonous, synthetic industries and inside advantage over natural hemp.” Herer believed that modern agricultural technology could, potentially, make hemp the “single biggest agricultural crop in the world today,” making it a major threat to industrial interests. Throughout his life, he touted it as a renewable resource that could be beneficial in the areas of medicine, energy and food.
Herer’s activities as an activist brought him to the field of politics as a Presidential candidate in 1988 and 1992, fronting the Grass Roots Party. He was also recognized by High Times Magazine with induction into the Counterculture Hall of Fame in 2003.
Because he opposed the taxation and quantity limitations on the legislation, Herer had urged Californians to vote against the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 that will appear on the state’s November ballot. The Jack Herer Initiative (or California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative), which he proposed, would eliminate criminal sanctions for marijuana possession and impose strict limits on zoning and license requirements associated with cannabis distribution. The Herer effort did not have the backing of major marijuana-advocacy groups and is considered unlikely to achieve the required signature threshold for voter consideration.
Herer will be remembered as a unique individual and pioneer in the cannabis legalization movement in the United States.
— From The420Times.com staff reports