Jack Herer Interview: Rare Footage From the 90s

Jack Herer and a Jack Herer cannabis strain beside

Jack Herer is a man worthy of Sensi Seeds’ legendary, honorary strain. Herer brought his heart with him into every part of his journey with cannabis activism. In this rare interview footage, Herer tells his story about cannabis activism and sends important messages to those who are also fighting for cannabis legalization around the world.

Who is Jack Herer?

Name: Jack Herer

Nationality: American

Born: 18 June 1939, Buffalo, New York, United States

Died: April 15, 2010 at age 70

Things you should know about Jack Herer


Jack Herer started his career in cannabis as a glass pipe entrepreneur, opening his first head shop in 1973. Needless to say, this cannabis legend’s journey didn’t end at glass blowing. Herer went on to be one of the world’s most prominent cannabis activists.

Herer ran for US president twice as the Grassroots Party candidate in 1988 and 1992.

In 1985, Herer wrote the famous “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”, a book that has been in print ever since. After Herer’s passing, a documentary was made about his life called Emperor of Hemp.

Herer believed in everything cannabis — from using it as medicine to using it as a source of fuel, fibre and food. He was a big critic of the US government, and accused them of deliberately hiding evidence of cannabis as medicine and fuel from the US public.

Herer confronted many health issues in his later life, suffering from a heart attack in 2000 and then again in 2009. He died in 2010 in Eugene, Oregon as a result of complications related to the 2009 heart attack.

Notable works and achievements

Herer wrote “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” in 1985, a book that continues to be printed and circulated around the world.

He co-authored “G.R.A.S.S.: Great Revolutionary American Standard System”, together with Al Emmanuel in 1973.

Herer was inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame at the 16th Cannabis Cup in recognition of his book.

Sensi Seeds created a strain in Jack Herer’s honour, and appropriately called it Jack Herer. It was awarded 1st place in the Sativa category at the 1999 High Times Cannabis Cup.

Quotes from Jack Herer

“The only dead bodies from marijuana are in the prisons and at the hands of the police. This is ridiculous.”

“If you substitute marijuana for tobacco and alcohol, you’ll add eight to twenty-four years to your life.”

“Growing hemp as nature designed it is vital to our urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases and ensure the survival of our planet.”

Sensi Seeds’ rare interview footage with Jack Herer

Sensi Seeds has had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Herer over the years, including in SensiBilisation, Sensi Seeds’ very own series. We share this rare footage to continue the Jack Herer legacy in the world of cannabis.

Every episode can be viewed in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch subtitles. Simply click “CC” and select the applicable language.

Jack Herer – How I started smoking pot

In 1990 Jack Herer travelled to the Netherlands to visit his good friend Ben Dronkers. One night, they spontaneously decided to film their conversation. This footage remained unseen, until Sensi Seeds launched the SensiBilisation series.

During the first part of his life, Jack was a conservative American who did not want to have anything to do with cannabis. In this episode, Jack Herer shares his story on how he was introduced to pot — a moment that changed his life for good.

This first episode of the series was released to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Jack Herer Strain. Ben Dronkers named this strain after the famous cannabis crusader in order to honour all the work his friend has done for the cannabis community.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

In this video, Jack explains how he decided on the title of his first and most famous book: The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Jack extensively reveals how this famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen is an allegory for the current prohibition of cannabis.

Jack Herer started on this book in 1973 after being advised by a good friend, Ed Adair, to start collecting and compiling tidbits of information about the cannabis and hemp, and the numerous uses of the plant. After more than a decade of collecting and compiling data, Jack Herer published the first version of The Emperor Wears No Clothes back in 1985.

Let the people choose

In this episode of the SensiBilisation series, Jack Herer emphasizes the importance of freedom of choice. And that rather than trying to prove that cannabis is harmful – something that close to 100 years’ worth of research has been unable to do – it is synthetic medicines that should be proven to be LESS harmful than cannabis.

Jack Herer on fear and propaganda

In this episode Jack Herer explains the extent to which commercialism and propaganda started to go hand in hand in the United States of America, by using a particular – non-cannabis related – example that makes the subject crystal clear. We hope you will enjoy this blast from the past.

In episode 11, Jack talks about a subject that comes up often in SensiBilisation: fear. A lot of prominent people know that cannabis and hemp plants have a lot to offer the world, but fear the effects that a dissenting opinion could have for them.

Jack Herer expands on concepts of fear and propaganda in this video. Herer was not a fan of the US Government, and often blames them for purposefully omitting truthful information from public education about cannabis.

Jack Herer – It doesn’t matter if you’re right

In this episode, Jack Herer relates a very interesting discussion he had with the number two man at the United States Department of Agriculture and Science, about hemp, cannabis and refusing to save the world. This story gives great insight into the mindset of the US establishments, as well as a touching piece showing the dedication of Jack Herer, the man, to his cause, the cannabis plant.

Reversing global warming

In this episode, Herer talks sustainability and global warming with Ben Dronkers. Herer continues on the conversation from the previous episode, where he describes the conversation he had with the Department of Agriculture and Science. Herer holds on to cannabis as a solution to global warming, but the Department of Agriculture and Science feel differently.

You can’t outlaw nature

In this episode, Herer emphasizes the ridiculousness of trying to ban one of nature’s most beneficial, natural products: cannabis. He also points out that the responsibility of deciding what a person can or should do lies with that person alone and that the people currently being prosecuted for cannabis cultivation, possession, or distribution should immediately be set free.

Get the information out there

In this episode, Jack Herer focuses on the importance of sharing and spreading the facts about cannabis as widely as possible to counter the misinformation and propaganda used against the plant.

Jack Herer – Plant the seeds of hemp everywhere!

In this clip, Jack Herer emphasises the necessity of spreading the word about hemp, and planting its seeds everywhere. Rather than appealing for donations to his campaign group HEMP, Jack Herer would rather that people used the group’s publicity items, such as T-shirts and bumper stickers that promote the message of legal hemp and cannabis

“It’s time to cut the crap”

This video contains a short but very powerful message from Jack, directly into the camera, directly addressed to anyone who needs inspiration: “it is time to cut the crap!”

Jack Herer – We have to teach the world

These episodes have presented Jack Herer how he really was: a passionate activist with a big heart, lots of humour, and an enormously strong drive to restore the cannabis and hemp plant to their rightful place in society.

In this episode, we finish the Jack Herer chapter of SensiBilisation with his conclusion, the core of what he stood for: we have to teach the world.


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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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