by Joe Klare

Jack Herer (1939 – 2010), sometimes called the “Emperor of Hemp,” was an American cannabis activist and the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a book which has been used in efforts to decriminalize cannabis. Herer also founded and served as the director of the organization Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP). – Wikipedia


Any cannabis activist worth the label knows who Jack Herer was and what he meant to the marijuana law reform movement. Many casual cannabis users also know Jack’s story thanks to the internet and the immense popularity of his seminal book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which has sold over 700,000 copies worldwide.

The name Jack Herer is also known to many cannabis users for a different reason; it’s the name of a very popular and potent strain of marijuana.

Known for a simultaneous head and body high, Jack Herer is an uplifting sativa-dominant hybrid good for daytime use and bringing patients out of depressed moods, as well helping greatly for pain relief. Its genealogy is a mixture of Skunk, Haze and Northern Lights.

But how do you know if what you are smoking, vaping or eating is really Jack Herer? After all, anyone can slap a famous name on a bottle. Well, it may come as a surprise to some that the technology to see if a strain is real is already here, albeit in the beginning stages.

“The technology of identifying if it is Jack Herer or not is in its infancy,” Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D. of “The Werc Shop” ( told The 420 Times. “We’re on the cutting edge of this and no other lab in the world is even close to doing it.  Our general approach has been validated now and we do have a good strong indication we’re on a very good path for the future.  We can’t do this very well for many strains at all, but Jack is easier than most, it is more distinct in some ways than others, and that does make this one a little easier and a little more concrete for us to say yes or no it is or isn’t and at the very least a really good, it’s got to be darn close if it isn’t type idea.

“Our improvements will come to the point we can say this unknown strain is this specific name.  We will become much better at that over the next year. We can say today this one is yes or no that one which we know a lot about, and currently there aren’t too many different strains we know a lot about with very high confidence (but Jack is one of the few we do know a lot about).”

We bought 5 samples of Jack Herer
…and only 2 of them were Jack

The potential for this technology is incredible. The 420 Times sent 5 samples to The Werc Shop, all from medical marijuana shops who sold them as Jack Herer. Only 2 samples were found to be Jack, while two were borderline, and one was seen as not being Jack for sure. The samples were collected from different parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs. As the technology advances patients will be able to find out if what they are being sold is really what it is labeled.

The medical marijuana industry itself is still in its infancy. Things are advancing at a fast rate politically, and technology will need to move fast to keep up. It is up to the entrepreneurs and risk-takers in the industry to push the boundaries of what can be done, and discover new ways to benefit marijuana consumers.

But patients have to make their voices heard as well. Let your local dispensary know your thoughts on testing. If people voice concern over what they are getting, it will speed up the process of technological advancement.