The BOSSest of them all: Jack Herer

by DGO Web Administrator

Now, there are CannaBosses and there are CannaBOSSes. When you are the guy who writes the definitive book exposing the true causes behind Prohibition; when you have one of the all-time great cannabis strains named in your honor; when PBS does a documentary about your work in support of cannabis; when you spend your life traveling hundreds of thousands of miles advocating for the plant we love until you have had a stroke after one speech and a heart attack that claims your life after another. When this is your resume, the, you can join Jack Herer in that latter category as a stone cold CannaBOSS.

Born in 1939 in New York City and raised in Buffalo, New York, Herer was a relative latecomer to the pot party, smoking his first joint at the age of 30. Soon after, he opened a head shop in Venice Beach, California. In 1973, he made a pact with Los Angeles cannabis advocate and fellow head shop owner who went by Captain Ed Adair “to work every day to legalize marijuana and get all pot prisoners out of jail, until we were dead, marijuana was legal, or we could quit when we turned 84.” And campaign he did, covering the world giving stirring speeches in favor of cannabis and, after an encounter with New Mexico state Sen. Tom Rutherford, researched and wrote “The Emperor Has No Clothes,” the definitive text about cannabis prohibition in the United States. He also ran for president in 1988 and 1992 under the banner of the pro-hemp Grassroots Party.

“Emperor,” published in 1985, has sold over 600,000 copies and has been translated into at least a dozen languages. It is now available at no cost on the website maintained by Herer’s widow in his honor,, along with every manner of information related to hemp education and advocacy. Herer’s magnum opus came about as the result of his conversation with Rutherford in which the politician told him that if the information he was presenting was real and put into a book, then cannabis would be legalized. There was no stopping the dynamo from there. He compiled his facts concerning hemp’s superiority as a food, fuel, and fiber into a volume espousing the plant. It was not only an excellent personal resource for humanity, but also the cure for the ills created by the dominance of petrochemicals in our society.

Among all the honors bestowed upon Herer as a result of his tireless advocacy, one stands out as a wonderful legacy for those of us who follow him: The eponymous strain created in his honor in the 1990s by the Amsterdam-based Sensi Seeds. This 55 percent sativa hybrid was created by breeding a “Haze hybrid with a Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk cross,” according to Leafly, making one of the most popular and effective daytime strains ever invented. JH is legendary for its uplifting properties and has since become a foundation of the cannabis breeding community.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].


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