Alpha-Pinene Terps Shine in this Sparkling Cannabis Cocktail Recipe

Holiday drinks enjoyed while celebrating friends, family and finding the light through dark winter nights is a tradition long held around the world. With pine trees inextricably part of those same warm gatherings, few things so strongly mark the arrival of the winter holidays quite like the unmistakable smell of fresh pine.

Did you know the fragrant terpene alpha-pinene is directly responsible for that unique scent we all hold near and dear during the holiday season? Found abundantly in edible plants all over the world (i.e., rosemary, juniper berries, eucalyptus, holy basil and the like), alpha-pinene’s charm also shines through in specific cannabis strains like Jack Herer, Cherry Pie and Purple Kush.

These holiday drinks in particular were inspired by pine needle syrup, a traditional Scandinavian remedy for sore throats made from pine needles foraged when the trees are just budding (the young shoots have the best flavor). Since it stunts the trees’ growth to remove the fresh buds and since not every pine tree is safe to eat, I recommend foraging with an expert or sourcing the pine needles from a reputable local or online shop. Longleaf, Shortleaf, Virginia, Spruce and Loblolly are some of the preferred trees for making pine infusions, but as with all plant consumption, take care with identification and defer to experienced knowledge before eating any plants.

There are two versions of this wintery, celebratory pine and cannabis drink: one made with sparkling wine and no added sugar, and the other infuses a simple syrup to be mixed with sparkling water–dealer’s choice.

Happy holidays, cheers!


1 1/2 – 2 cups cold filtered water

3.5 g dried and cured cannabis flower or trim

1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin (found in health food stores or online)

1/2 cup organic cane sugar (if making simple syrup, omit if making mixer for champagne cocktails)

1-2 cinnamon sticks

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (plus one sprig each per serving)

Sparkling white wine or sparkling mineral water (for the mixer)

Decarboxylate Cannabis

Preheat oven to 245ºF. Keep an eye on the heat using an oven thermometer.

Coarsely chop/breakup cannabis flower.

Spread cannabis evenly over a parchment lined baking pan, then cover tightly with two layers of foil.

Bake for 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the heat with an oven thermometer.

After baking, let cool fully before removing foil.

Spritz cannabis lightly with Everclear/high-proof alcohol (to help break down plant matter and cannabinoids, a genius method developed by Tamar Wise).

For Mocktail with Pine Needle Simple Syrup (no alcohol)

Boil 1 1/2 cups water, then add 1 cup pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until it’s completely dissolved.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the liquid.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused simple syrup to sparkling water over ice. Stir, garnish with a sprig of rosemary, and serve.

For a Sparkling Cocktail (mix with your favorite sparkling wine)

Boil 2 cups of water, then add 1 cup of pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the pine-needle infusion.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add the desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused liquid and a sprig of fresh rosemary to your favorite sparkling Brut. Cheers!

Dosage: Both recipes make about 1 2/3 cups liquid. I use tablespoons as my measurement for dosage, with 1 tablespoon per drink. There are 16 tablespoons in a liquid cup, so 1 2/3 cups is very loosely 26 tbsps, or 13 servings. If I start with a cannabis flower that tests at around 20% THC, using 3.5g would make the total amount of THC in the syrup all in about 700mg THC. Dividing that total by 26 tbsp. servings, each tbsp. would contain approximately 27mg THC per serving.

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Who Is Jack Herer? The Man Behind The Strain

If you’re a cannabis connoisseur living in a legal or decriminalized region, you’ve likely narrowed it down to some specific strains and products you prefer by now. High on the list of many cannabis users is a potent sativa strain known as Jack Herer.

Jack Herer is a legendary strain that’s been around since the mid-nineties. Its uplifting and energized high, not to mention the incredibly fresh and citrusy flavor, has kept Jack Herer on the top shelf for decades. What many smokers fail to realize is that Jack Herer isn’t just some random, arbitrary name. These flowers are named after an actual person, a lifelong cannabis activist known as the ‘Emperor of Hemp’.

What do you know about the man behind the strain? Read on to learn more.

Cannabis is full of interesting characters. Many of the big names in pot, those who helped propel the industry forward over the years, usually have larger than life personalities along with a taste for political activism. To learn more about the industry and the people who made it, and for exclusive deals on exclusive deals on delta-8 THCdelta 10thcvthcpthc-ohhc and even legal hemp-derived delta-9 THC, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter.

The Man: Jack Herer

If you live in a legal or medical market, it’s not uncommon to find numerous strains with “Jack” in the name. Jack Diesel, Critical Jack, and Super Jack are all variants of the infamous sativa strain, Jack Herer. A lot of people, both consumers and those within the industry, know about the potent effects and robust flavor of this strain, however, many are unfamiliar with the man behind the strain.

Jack Herer (the man), grew up in upstate Buffalo, NY, but he was born in New York City in 1939. Herer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean war and after finishing his contract in 1967, he moved to Los Angeles and began working at a neon sign company. It was in California that Jack Herer tried marijuana for his first time at the ripe of 30 years old. After falling in love with the plant and its effects, he quit his job and opened a head shop in Venice Beach, a mecca for art and hippie culture at the time.

By the 1970s, Jack Herer became a powerful presence in the movement to legalize cannabis. Herer spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress, reviewing decades of government-backed research on marijuana benefits and hemp fiber uses. He used this information for his 1985 book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which marked a watershed in his career as a cannabis industry activist.

His book quickly became known as the “holy grail” or “bible” of cannabis knowledge. To this day it is still viewed as a classic and a must-read for anyone with any sort of involvement with cannabis. During a time when misinformation was rampant and anything the government said about weed was viewed with great cynicism, the majority of people who wanted real, accurate information about cannabis turned to Jack Herer’s book.

“The Emperor of Hemp”

Bouncing off the title of his book, Herer himself came to be known as the Emperor of Hemp, or Hemperor. A common theme in his work was uncovering government hypocrisy and how they used questionable tactics and inaccurate information to justify prohibition. His speeches, known to be incredibly passionate and inspiring, were in the same vein.

Herer suspected that government officials knew the benefits of cannabis but were keeping it illegal to keep societies dependent on rope fiber, paper pulp, and petrochemicals. As usual, just follow the money. He discussed the importance of hemp and his belief that hemp was America’s future cash crop, one with the ability to reinvent virtually every industry in an eco-friendly way.

Jack also shed light on another common motivator behind anti-cannabis policies – racism. After researching back to the early days of prohibition, Herer became “furious and disgusted” with the racism, lies, and uninformed legislation… so after years of writing and studying he published his book. Over the course of six weeks in 1990, Herer held 60 rallies across 48 different U.S. cities discussing the information in his book and other ideas surrounding the benefits and legalization of cannabis.

Eventually Jack left Los Angeles and moved north to Oregon, where his opened his famous Portland headshop, The Third Eye Shoppe on Hawthorne Blvd. In addition to keeping high-quality glass pipes and psychedelic décor on deck, the now-closed shop became a popular meeting spot for cannabis activists in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon’s medical marijuana initiative, Ballot Measure 67, was drafted at The Third Eye, and many prominent cannabis-industry figures have spent time in Herer’s shop.

On April 15th, 2010, after four decades of activism, Jack collapsed and next to the stage at a hemp festival in Oregon, following a passionate speech. He passed away shortly after. According to his family, that is what Jack would have wanted, “He gave an impassioned speech at a hemp rally, then as soon as he finished, he entered the final stages of his life.”

The Strain: Euphoric Sativa

Jack Herer was crafted by Netherlands-based seedbank, Sensi Seeds, back in the early 1990s. Eventually, Jack Herer would be distributed in Dutch pharmacies far and wide as an “authentic” and “original” medicinal cannabis strain; and it has won many awards for its quality and potency.

Jack Herer is a cross of Northern Lights #5, Haze, and Skunk #1. Despite having a lineage that is less than 50% sativa, Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant hybrid that feels uplifting, energetic and euphoric when consumed. Because Jack Herer does have a little bit of indica in it, you can expect to experience a slight body high that pairs perfectly with the cerebral effects. Many describe it as the “perfect high” and it’s perfect for use at any time of the day, as opposed to heavy indicas which some users prefer to use only at night.

Like Blue Dream, Jack Herer is one of those flowers that most sativa-lovers flock to. This strain is high in the terpenes Myrcene and Limonene, which make up for its signature flavor that full of earthy, citrusy tones. Me personally, this is my type of strain as a I tend to prefer flowers with fresh, crisp flavors rather than the musky ones like U.K. Cheese, for example.

“You’ve got to be out of your mind not to smoke dope”

Jack Herer, the man, was an incredible activist, eloquent writer, and a trusted figure at one of the most crucial times in the history of modern cannabis culture. Jack Herer, the strain, is potent, flavorful, and uplifting – it lives up to its namesake.

No matter what your thoughts are on sativa strains, or what your cannabis needs may be, it’s worth remembering the last public speech that Jack Herer gave immediately before his passing: “You’ve got to be out of your mind not to smoke dope. It is the best thing the world has ever had.”

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The Most Influential People in the Cannabis Industry – Past, Present, and Future

Cannabis is an industry built on rebellion, healing, innovation, and perseverance. The cannabis industry is full of incredible people who laid the groundwork in the fields of research and activism to get us where we are today – one of the fastest growing industries on earth with a global economic impact estimated to be roughly $90 billion.

In short, cannabis consumers of the past, present, and future are indebted to all the people on this list. Their tireless work and dedication has led to important medical advancements, cultural cannabis acceptance, and legal reform in an industry where every advancement is a hard-fought win.

The people highlighted here are AMAZING. Of course, we couldn’t include everyone on this list, but there are many many more influential people in the world of cannabis that deserve a shout out. If you’d like to suggest anyone in particular, drop us a line in the comment section below! And if you’d like to learn more about the cannabis industry as a whole, make sure you subscribe to the CBD FLOWERS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER, a leading source for industry information, as well as exclusive deals on flowers and other products!

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam

It seems appropriate to begin with the ‘Godfather of THC’ himself, renowned Israeli scientist, Professor Raphael Mechoulam from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mechoulam is famous for his groundbreaking discoveries in cannabis research, starting with identifying THC in 1964, as well as many other cannabinoids to follow.

He has dedicated his life to studying cannabis compounds, and his early work laid the foundation for the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Mechoulam and his research group have also conducted many studies on Anandamide, the first known human endocannabinoid, referred to as the “bliss molecule” for its primary role in homeostasis and regulating numerous different physiological functions.

Currently, Professor Mechoulam is one of two winners of the esteemed Harvey Prize for his ground-breaking research in the world of medicinal cannabis, particularly in the area of cancer research. His studies in this field have given the entire world a new perspective on cannabis as a healing plant, rather than just a recreational drug.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer – aptly nicknamed ‘the Emperor of Hemp – grew up in upstate Buffalo, NY, but he was born in New York City in 1939. Herer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean war and after finishing his contract in 1967, he moved to Los Angeles and began working at a neon sign company. It was in California that Jack Herer tried marijuana for his first time at the ripe of 30 years old. After falling in love with the plant and its effects, he quit his job and opened a head shop in Venice Beach, a mecca for art and hippie culture at the time.

By the 1970s, Jack Herer became a powerful presence in the movement to legalize cannabis. Herer spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress, reviewing decades of government-backed research on marijuana benefits and hemp fiber uses. He used this information for his 1985 book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which marked a watershed in his career as a cannabis industry activist.

His book quickly became known as the “holy grail” or “bible” of cannabis knowledge. To this day it is still viewed as a classic and a must-read for anyone with any sort of involvement with cannabis. During a time when misinformation was rampant and anything the government said about weed was viewed with great cynicism, the majority of people who wanted real, accurate information about cannabis turned to Jack Herer’s book.

Wanda James

cannabis industry

Another true American hero, Wanda James is a military veteran, serving as former lieutenant in the United States Navy, and she also worked on the national Finance Committee during the Obama Administration. No stranger to challenges and breaking barriers, James is best known in the industry for opening the first black-owned cannabis dispensary in the United States, Simply Pure.

Along with her husband Scott Durrah, they became the first African Americans, legally licensed in America, to own not only a dispensary, but also a cultivation facility and an edible company. Despite having built a cannabis empire in her home town of Denver, Colorado, James has remained a powerful advocate for equity, empowering black-owned business owners (women especially) to follow suit.

“Never ever, ever, ever give up,” advises James. If you are truly an entrepreneur you never stop. Failure is not an option. Lessons may sometimes be costly, both financially and emotionally, but true entrepreneurs never say never. We say, ‘OK.  What did I learn and how did that make me smarter, stronger and more experienced and ready to do it again?”

Cassandra Farrington

Cassandra co-founded Marijuana Business Daily in 2011, as well as a large portfolio of resources for the B2B cannabis marketplace which includes MJBizCon, the world’s largest industry event. Under her leadership, both the company and the additional networking projects and conferences grew rapidly and MJBiz is one of the most globally recognized cannabis brands that currently exists.

A true entrepreneurial visionary, Farrington found quick success in the cannabis industry and has used that to facilitate countless networking and growth opportunities for industry stakeholders. Although she has a draw to helping push women forward, her events have been beneficial for everyone, and are always the most anticipated and fruitful ones of the year.

Some wise words of advice from Cassandra: “It is indeed possible to forge your own self-funded, and therefore self-controlled, path to success in the cannabis industry. Don’t assume that just because everyone else is raising money, that you need to do that too.  At the very least, don’t allow that be a default position without exploring all other avenues and possibilities. The flexibility of controlling your own destiny – and that of your business – is well worth the effort.”

Willie Nelson

willie nelson

The name Willie Nelson is basically synonymous with cannabis culture. He is just about as famous for his activism as he is for his music. Willie Nelson is a lifelong supporter of fair cannabis regulations and a prominent advocate of hemp farming and manufacture. “Hemp production in America was stifled for so long, but it could now make all the difference for small independent farmers,” Nelson stated. “Hemp isn’t just good for our farmers and our economy, it’s good for our soil, our environment—and our health.”

Nelson is a co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and has been a part of the fight for cannabis legalization for decades. Nelson wrote an autobiography titled ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I’m Gone.’ In it, he commended the legalization of recreational cannabis in certain states, saying that he was happy he “didn’t have to fly to Amsterdam anymore.”

In 2015, Nelson released his line of cannabis products under the brand name Willie’s Reserve, which he sells at dispensaries in numerous different legal states, as well a large variety of accessories. It’s no doubt that Nelson’s fame was incredibly beneficial in helping to highlight the fight for the legalization of marijuana, although, it could be argued that his die-hard efforts in the cannabis industry helped make him even more famous.

Snoop Dogg   

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Snoop Dogg, I immediately think of weed. California-born Snoop Dogg, known formally as Calvis Broadaus Jr., is a rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer, media personality, and businessman – and all of his aforementioned enterprises are heavily focused on cannabis.

When it comes to modern cannabis culture, it’s hard to think of anyone who has made a larger impact than Snoop Dogg. While many celebrity brands are centered largely on self-promotion and sales, the company that Snoop started back in 2015 actually helps other businesses get off the ground financially. Casa Verde Capital, Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm, specializes in providing funding to startups, early-stage, and emerging cannabis companies that have high growth potential but don’t have the money to make a full launch.

Also, as of April 2021, Snoop Dogg is now officially in the fight to legalize marijuana at the federal level. According to POLITICO, Snoop dog is partnering with Weldon Angelos and Charles Kock (criminal justice reform specialist and billionaire cannabis activist, respectively) to form The Cannabis Freedom Alliance. The goal of this coalition is to bring awareness to lawmakers, mostly Republican, who remain on-the-fence or completely against cannabis legalization.

Keith Stroup

keith stroup

Keith Stroup is the founder of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a grassroots organization that has been dedicated to reforming national cannabis laws since 1970. With chapters in numerous different states and quite a few countries as well, it’s safe to say that NORML has had a significant impact in shaping the cannabis industry into what it currently is.

Keith Stroup was the groups executive director until 1979, at which point he took a break, became an attorney, and got heavy into lobbying for artists and family farmers. Stroup returned to NORML in 1994 and joined the board of directors. By 1995, Keith Stroup was back in position as NORML’s executive director. Although he eventually stepped down from that role too, he stays working with NORML and will continue to do so until fair marijuana laws are achieved for all.

One of Keith Stroup’s most famous quotes: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults and it should be of no interest or concern to the government. They have no business knowing whether we smoke or why we smoke.” Oh how right he is.

Justin Hartfield          

If you live in a legal state, it’s highly probable that you have or are currently using Weedmaps to aid in your cannabis shopping. It’s a go-to app for me and most of the people I know. Although once upon a time, the entire concept was pretty basic – simply to help users find dispensaries in their area – but it has since blossomed into a complex network of everything-cannabis, where you can find dispensaries, products, doctors, search prices, look for specific brands, and even make purchases through the app.

We can all thank Justin Hartfield for this innovation. Hartfield is a Southern California-based entrepreneur and venture capitalist that co-founded Weedmaps in 2008, right at the beginning of the soon-to-be-legal modern cannabis industry. Initially, they had one office in Irvine, California. Now, this is where the company is headquartered but they have since expanded exponentially, with over 400 employees and offices in Denver, Tucson, New York, Barcelona and Toronto.

Although Hartfield stepped down as company CEO in 2016, Weedmaps continues to play a huge role in how people shop for cannabis in legal markets. It also set the stage for how numerous dispensaries now operate their own websites, although no one seems to do quite like Weedmaps still.

Nancy Do

nancy do

Falling in line with a common theme of the cannabis industry, Nancy Do fully embodies what it means to persevere. As a Vietnamese American whose family came to the US as refugees, Nancy knows all too well what it means to push for inclusion and representation, and this drive is what helped her build a name and solid reputation in the cannabis industry.

Nancy is the founder of 2 different companies – Endo Industries: a company focused on perfecting plant genetics and helping growers utilize the best cultivation techniques possible, and Wana Wellness, an herbal supplement company that leverages her knowledge in cannabinoid research and product development to make healthy supplements and edibles. In December 2019, MJBizDaily named Nancy Do the first-ever Industry Impact Award Winner and in May 2020, she was listed as one of the 35 Most Influential Women in Cannabis by Ganja Entrepreneur.

“I think women-led management and product development teams have an advantage in creating products that are authentic and resonate well with women,” Do stated. “So much of our industry is about building relationships and trust, and that process can be bolstered when women consumers see other women standing behind the products on the shelves. In addition to reaching female consumers effectively, I think women bring a collaborative and cooperative spirit to an industry that is too often driven by ego and competition.”

Lester Grinspoon

Lester Grinspoon is known for his compelling work in the field of mental health, holding the title Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He began researching cannabis in the 1960s, when it started gaining popularity in the United States, especially among youth. His initial goal was to prove how ‘dangerous’ cannabis is, claiming that he want to “prevent harm from coming to the foolish young people who would not listen to, or could not believe or understand the warnings about its dangers.”

However, it did not take him very long to realize that that he was on the wrong side of the fight and eventually, he publicly acknowledged that cannabis was not really as bad as he once believed. In 1971, he published ‘Marihuana Reconsidered’, a work that outlined the safety of profile of cannabis, as well as discussed some of the benefits of using it in combination with various forms of modern pharmaceutical medications.

After a complete 180 on his original views, by the 2000s Grinspoon was a devout cannabis advocate who has spoken at many NORML conferences and supported numerous pieces of legislation that helped push the industry forward. In 2010, he endorsed an initiative that decriminalized recreational cannabis use in the state of Washington, and he was even awarded by High Times magazine for his contributions to the industry in 2015.

Final Thoughts

If you have any stake in cannabis, it’s important to know that these are some of the people that helped bring the industry to the place it is now, and they will continue to have a huge impact on its future. Although cannabis is still federally prohibited, it’s closer to being legalized than ever before, and we can thank the individuals on this list for their unrelenting efforts in the areas of research and development, activism, advocacy, and networking. If it were not for them, who knows where we would be now?

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The History of 420

Act One

You can trace a line from Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady to Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs to Steve and Dave, who entered San Rafael High School in the late’60s. They were rugged individualists uninspired by the social scene, which centered on athletics and the school’s top jocks, so they decided to create their own fun by embarking on a quest for adventure. The first of these was a visit to a Bay Area research lab developing the very first holographs. Soon, Jeff, Larry and Mark joined the safaris, as these adventures became known.

Every safari started with a sacramental hit of cannabis, followed by the cranking of the tunes, either in the 1966 4-door Chevy Impala with the killer Craig 8-track stereo system, in Steve’s room, or in one of a few other sacred spots they shared herb, as getting high was illegal and couldn’t be done in public or around parents. One of their favorite spots was underneath the statue of Louis Pasteur by Benny Bufano, which overlooked the school parking lot. Sacred hymns provided by New Riders of the Purple Sage, Allman Brothers, Poco, Commander Cody, Beatles, The Moonlighters were then employed to lift the vibration higher.

Waldos & Louie

This crew gravitated to a wall inside the courtyard of San Rafael High, where they’d meet before class and during lunch break to make withering comments about everything around them. This is where they obtained their name: The Waldos, as well as where they honed their savage wit. You couldn’t smoke pot around school unless it was a one-hitter and done extremely carefully, and even then you risked suspension and your parent’s wrath.

In the fall of 1971, Steve was given a treasure map to an abandoned patch of cannabis on Point Reyes that had been planted by a member of the Coast Guard too scared to return. He wanted some fellow stoners to have the patch and everybody at San Rafael knew the Waldos were frequent stoners.

“Surely, this is the ultimate safari,” Steve thought. “No more adventurous nor noble quest could be devised by the mind of man.”

The Waldos prophetically all agreed to meet at 4:20 p.m. at the Louis Pasteur Statue to get high and drive out to Point Reyes to search for the secret patch of weed. From then on, whenever the Waldos passed each other in the halls, they spontaneously erupted in a salute with the words, “Four Twenty Louie!” Little did they know how far this ritual would eventually travel, although “Louie” got lost along the way.

For the next 10 years, the Waldos went on the most amazing safaris and had the most magical adventures, although they sadly never found that patch. But they always sponsored a big pot party on April 20th, where a ceremonial toke would take place at 4:20 p.m. Eventually they started getting married, having families and picking up the sacred pipe less frequently. However, they kept up the safaris.

But as soon as the Waldos retired from staging 420 ceremonies, the younger classmen of San Rafael picked up on the magic of numerology and began using the code as a way to evade detection and some of them started a ritual of congregating on a ridge of Mount Tamalpias with a sunset view of the Pacific on April 20th in order to get high at exactly 4:20 p.m. as a way to honor the spirit of cannabis. This ritual started with only a few souls, but soon grew to dozens. And that’s when someone got the idea of making a flyer inviting stoners from all over the Bay Area to the ceremony. Nobody outside Marin even knew that 420 signified pot. But even those gathered at the top of Mt. Tam didn’t have any idea how the code had started. They thought it had something to do with the police.

Act Two

I’m often knee-deep before I realize what I stepped into, and that’s how it was with the Cannabis Cup. The idea came to me on the plane, while flying back from the Netherlands after interviewing the founder of the first marijuana seed company, Nevil Shoemakers. The night before, Dave Watson had regaled me with tales of California harvest festivals before CAMP helicopters forced that scene underground.

Soon, I was back in the Netherlands, organizing the first Cannabis Cup, with a photographer and grow expert. Three seed companies entered, and one of them didn’t even cure their entries but plucked them fresh off the vine.

But when I returned home after that first event, I couldn’t shake a feeling of responsibility. My event demanded a ceremonial framework respecting the true spirit of cannabis and its historical importance and influence. And that’s how I ended up buying a paperback version of the “Rigveda.”

Imagine my surprise when I came across the description of the primary sacrament shared during all ceremonies, a drink called Soma:

“The blind see, the lame walk… he clothes the naked. Soma is a sage and seer inspired by poetry …King of the healing plants.”

I knew Soma was supposed to be a mushroom, something accepted as gospel by the academic community, but in my heart, I instantly realized this had to be a description of cannabis. I also realized there had to be some incredible cover-up going on that dwarfed the cover-up Jack Herer was pushing about the industrial uses and environmental benefits of hemp.

I stepped out of my office to smoke a joint and reflect on these matters (something I had been doing in my office, but had recently departed, as I had moved to a former warehouse in the back of the building), something necessitated by a crackdown on smoking. But the crackdown had just been extended to the warehouse as well, so I sought refuge in the stairwell.

Steve Bloom, the recently appointed news editor of High Times was there, along with some hippie dude I didn’t know, and he proceeded to pull out a stash of whippets and he began inhaling them in rapid succession. Bloom asked when he was going to share, and he said, “Sorry, I only have my dose and nothing more.”

I fired my joint, while Bloom showed me a flyer he’d been handed while attending a recent Grateful Dead show in Oakland. “Check this out,” he said. “It’s really silly.”

I don’t have immense satori moments often, but I’d been time traveling through the Vedas for hours and still had a foot in distant past, so when I saw that crude flyer asking people to come to the sunset-view ridge of Mt. Tam at 4:20 p.m. on April 20th, it assumed Biblical proportions in my mind. I expressed these feelings instantly, because this was a sign and something that could be employed to give meaning to my Cannabis Cup ceremony and also help make marijuana legal. But for those not into numerology or the study of secret societies, this is just silliness with no meaning. Some people “got” 420 and employed the magic to enhance their cannabis experience and help legitimize pot in ceremony, while for others, it remained a joke and nothing more.

I told Bloom I intended to use the code as part of my effort to build a case for spiritual rights to use cannabis under the Constitution.

“This ceremony manifested spontaneously, and is evidence of the power of cannabis to create ceremony and culture,” I said. “We’re going to make this a big part of the Cannabis Cup and the Freedom Fighters.”

Later on, I was crushed to discover Bloom had run a joke item about the flyer and failed to mention my pledge to deploy the code. No matter, I was soon on the road going to hundreds of college campuses in a debate titled Heads versus Feds against the former head of the DEA in New York. And at every event, I asked the students to have a peace ceremony at 4:20 on April 20th. I also told them to be moderate in the use at such a young age, reminding them “the less you do, the higher you get.”

Certainly, Chef RA, Jack Herer, Rodger Belknap, Thom Harris, Linda Noel and Debby Goldsberry “got” 420. They were the shock troops in the hemp legalization movement, who helped me found the Freedom Fighters, the first national hemp legalization group. For many years we drove to rallies in a psychedelic bus (a new one each year as they were always breaking down). We hosted free campgrounds, with free kitchens, and published a free newsletter. Back then, the rallies were all held at precisely high noon, a trend that would continue for well over a decade. But the Freedom Fighters always held council at 4:20 p.m., passed a feather and plotted how to best legalize in our lifetime. Just as every year, one of the Freedom Fighters was selected by open council to attend the Cannabis Cup as a celebrity judge.

Goldsberry became the most dedicated member of that original crew and quickly broke off to create her own organization, CAN. The half dozen rallies we attended were not enough to keep her occupied, as she created her own tour that hit almost every college town in the Midwest, while we concentrated on Ann Arbor, Madison, Boston and the Rainbow Family Gatherings. At every stop along the road, she handed out free copies of the original 420 flyer.

Kenny Scharf was the first famous artist to design the official Cup art.

I hadn’t been to any Cups since the first one. But in 1993, I held the first 420 council at a Cannabis Cup. In truth, it was a clumsy ceremony, as no one but me had any idea what 420 represented, including Jack Herer. Some people will claim 420 was already widespread within the Grateful Dead community in the 1980s, but that is not true. It was known to teenagers who lived in Marin County in the later part of the decade.

The following year, however, at the 7th Cup, my 420 ceremony blossomed and became epic and stayed that way for the next 15 years or so. Most of the chiefs of cannabis you’ll find in Amsterdam today attended that first big 420 ceremony and spoke from their hearts. Eagle Bill was a major force elevating those ceremonies and it could not have happened like it did without him. I ran into Bill on my way to open the Pax Party House on opening day and noticed he carried a hand-carved staff. I asked if he would like to be the ceremonial high priest and use his staff in place of a feather. The impact of this request on Eagle Bill was profound. To say Eagle Bill “got” 420 would be a vast understatement, as he rapidly elevated to become the primary guiding spirit of the event.

I was arranging everything around the afternoon 420, but the crew got so devoted they began doing 420 a.m. ceremonies, and these rapidly became the most legendary parties at the Cup and everyone collected photos of themselves under the clock at exactly 4:20.

In 1995, Vancouver got credit for staging the first April 20th 420 ceremony outside Marin County. Marc Emery, Dana Rozek, Cindy Lassu and Ian Hunter had a hand in manifesting this event, although Emery was initially opposed to the concept. It continues today as the longest-running April 20th ceremony in North America. A few years later, Goldsberry staged the first major 420 event in the Bay Area in Golden Gate Park, although it turned into a one-off. However, the already established free 420 gathering on hippie hill continues to this day. The Mt. Tam sunset ridge ceremony was shut down in 1990.

Act Three

Even though High Times became the magazine success story of the ’90s and the Freedom Fighters spearheaded the return of the rallies, re-igniting the sleeping marijuana movement, success only seemed to bring problems for me, as I was soon forced to disband the Freedom Fighters and there were constant pressures to shut down the Cup as well, or at least remove my supervision. I moved home to concentrate on events and how to document them for posterity as I felt there was something important in these 420 ceremonies I was manifesting. At the time, I was primarily interested in building up WHEE! as the premiere cannabis event in North America.

I’d been trying for years to get Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters over to the Cannabis Cup, and had lured Mountain Girl when she was poor and adventurous, but at one point realized if I wanted to do a ceremony with Kesey, it was going to have to happen in his backyard, and that’s what happened. The first year (1997) we had over 300 vendors and 20,000 attendees.

Of course the Pranksters “got” 420 immediately, and the reason the code suddenly began skyrocketing through the Grateful Dead scene was threefold: first, Rainbow Family and Dead Family were basically the same thing and the Freedom Fighters and 420 had acquired a huge presence at Rainbow; second, Jack Herer and Chef RA “got” 420 and they became influential figures and spread the code; and three, and probably most important, the Pranksters “got” 420, and began actively pushing it. And Kesey was the most influential person in the Dead scene after Jerry Garcia.

One day, I got an email from Mike, the travel agent of the Cannabis Cup, who had been made the producer of the event with me directing the ceremonies. He forwarded a message from Bloom in San Francisco who claimed to have started 420 with his friends in 1971. The part that caught my attention was Bloom wasn’t seeking money, he just wanted to know the real story. He was writing to the Cannabis Cup travel package website because Mike had put up a forum for posting 420 Cannabis Cup stories, and this website drew the attention of the Waldos, who had been following the spread of 420 across America with much mirth and amazement.

By 2002, headshops in the Bay Area were stuffed with 420 t-shirts, buttons, hats, posters, and various other memorabilia. The code has become a well-known secret inside cannabis culture and been written about in High Times and celebrated as the central ceremony in the Cannabis Cup and WHEE!, the two biggest and most influential cannabis-themed events at the time (if you don’t count Kumba Mela). Still, however, outside the Bay Area, the code remained an enigma, even to most stoners.

I ended up flying out to San Francisco and meeting the Waldos and holding epic ceremonies with them for days, all of which were captured on video, as were my 420 ceremonies with the Pranksters and the elders of the Rainbow Family. In fact, whenever I get together with Pranksters, Waldos or Rainbow Elders, the same magic improvisational energy always emerges, as well as an overwhelming desire to have fun. I never doubted the Waldos’ story, and read the truth in their hearts before I examined their documents. But the powers-that-be at High Times never trusted me, and the publisher spread the story I was suppressing competing tales on the origins of 420 because the Waldos were my friends, implying it all a massive hoodwink on my part. And that’s the way this story appears on Wikipedia today.

Heads versus Feds

I also began a college lecture tour in 1995, debating Curtis Sliwa for five years, and then the former head of the New York DEA for additional 14, and Heads versus Feds traveled to over 300 colleges and universities over 19 years and I end each debate with a plea for the creation of a local student-run legalization group and urge the students to hold annual events on April 20th and have local bands play to raise money for the chapter. That line about April 20th often gets a laugh from the audience, and about half the time, I’m able to get volunteers to start a sign-up sheet for a chapter of NORML for the first five years before I switched to advocating for SSDP. At many debates, the list of prospective members reaches several dozen before I depart the lecture hall, and some of these chapters actually get off the ground. Enough for SSDP to follow the tour remotely as it moves around the country, and that’s probably why Allen St. Pierre of NORML said recently: “Without Hager, I don’t think there’s any way that this interesting numerology that has crept deep into American culture and commerce would have happened.”

One of the earliest schools we traveled to for the Heads versus Feds debate was Boulder, Colorado, and that school soon started a 420 ceremony that got so big the University had to shut down the entire school on April 20th just to try and stop it. And I think that’s one reason why Denver got the center of energy of 420. Colorado was always the most vocally pro-pot state I visited.

420 as a Ritual

I’ve long supported the view 420 should be used to help ritualize and legitimize cannabis as a sacrament, which will also strengthen the case for religious use. I’m not in favor of students doing breakfast dabs and going off to take their calculus exam. I realize some get attracted to intoxication too early in life, and it holds them back, but on the other hand, I don’t believe anyone should go to jail, lose a student loan, or lose child custody over cannabis. So I suggest using 4:20 p.m. as a guide for an appropriate hour for the adult population to hold a cannabis ceremony, although this certainly doesn’t apply to those with a medical need. If you’re having a medical emergency, dabs away.

I’m hoping some who read this will “get” 420, and consider lifting the ceremony to a higher level, something more meaningful than just an excuse to get intoxicated. Only then will we be able to help forge a spiritual culture worthy of being handed down to future generations. If you want to treat this plant with respect, there is magic, but for some others who use it without wisdom or who become too attached too soon, it’s just an expensive habit. The other thing I’ve learned is that if you want to have a true counterculture ceremony, everyone must be invited, which means it has to be free and it can’t just be about getting high and nothing else.

Published with permission of the author.

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Cannabis Holidays to Celebrate Throughout the Year

We all know 420 as the quintessential stoner holiday. Even many people who don’t smoke very much have heard of the day; it’s globally recognized. But did you know there are quite a few other cannabis holidays, more quaint and less commercialized ones, that are very much worth celebrating?

So, mark your calendars, call your friends, and make sure you’re stocked up on all your favorite products when these cannabis holidays roll around.

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420 – April 20th

First on the list, not because it’s the most well-known but because it’s chronologically first, is none other than 420. The origin of the term 420 can be traced back to a group of five teens from San Rafael, California, the birthplace of many industry trends and the current largest cannabis market in the world. The teens were appropriately nicknamed “the Waldos” due to their preferred hang out spot – a wall outside of their high school. In the fall of 1971, the Waldos got wind of a rumor that a Coast Guard planted some cannabis seeds there and was no longer able to tend to his field.

Every day after school, they would pile into one of their cars, have a little smoke sesh, and scour the Point Reyes National Forest for this legendary crop. Their daily meeting time? 4:20 p.m. They never did find the elusive crop (that likely didn’t even exist), but they did manage start a trend that would first take over their high school and soon reach global status.

The phrase “420” quickly spread around, especially with teens and young adults, because it allowed teens to talk about cannabis openly while their parents, teachers, and supervisors were none the wiser. Eventually, thanks to some attention from Grateful Dead and a simple flyer that read, “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” Once High Times printed the story, accompanied by a photo of the flyer, it was game over… 420 was officially a thing.

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Jack Herer’s Birthday – June 18th

If you live in a legal or medical market, it’s not uncommon to find numerous strains with “Jack” in the name. Jack Diesel, Critical Jack, and Super Jack are all variants of the infamous sativa strain, Jack Herer. A lot of people, both consumers and those within the industry, know about the potent effects and robust flavor of this strain, however, many are unfamiliar with the man behind the strain.

After serving in the U.S. Army and moving to Los Angeles, California, Jack tried marijuana for his first time at the ripe of 30 years old. After falling in love with the plant and its effects, he quit his job and opened a head shop in Venice Beach, a mecca for art and hippie culture at the time.

By the 1970s, Jack Herer became a powerful presence in the movement to legalize cannabis. Herer spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress, reviewing decades of government-backed research on marijuana benefits and hemp fiber uses. He used this information for his 1985 book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which marked a watershed in his career as a cannabis industry activist.

His book quickly became known as the “holy grail” or “bible” of cannabis knowledge. To this day it is still viewed as a classic and a must-read for anyone with any sort of involvement with cannabis. To commemorate his many strides in the cannabis industry, many choose to celebrate his birthday, June 18th, by lighting up a joint, bowl, or blunt in one of his legendary strains.

710 – July 10th

For most people, July 10th is just another day; but in the cannabis industry, it’s a new-ish holiday to celebrate dabs. While most people view this as a very recreational form of using cannabis or hemp buds, many medical patients utilize it for the strong and fast-acting effects. Concentrates have anywhere from 50 to 90 percent cannabinoid content.

The exact origins of how this holiday came to be remain a bit hazy, but the date was picked for one simple reason: when you take the number 710, and flip it upside it looks just like the word “OIL”. The first documented 710 celebrations were back in 2012, when Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational cannabis and thus, created The 7/10 Cup to showcase newly permitted concentrate products.

Current 7/10 celebrations consist of concentrate consumption, usually via a popular method referred to as “dabbing”. Concentrates come in many forms such as wax, shatter, and bubble hash, and you can get both THC and CBD varieties. A small amount of concentrate is loaded into a dab rig then heated with a blowtorch.

CBD Day – August 8th

August 8th is celebration of cannabidiol specifically. Although it technically started as a marketing campaign, it’s grown to be nationally recognized as a day to spread awareness about the numerous health benefits of using CBD, arguably one of the most important cannabis holidays. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive so it’s primarily used in the wellness sector and there is even and FDA-approved medication, Epidiolex, that utilizes CBD as the main ingredient.

Although Epidiolex is only prescribed to patients with a few rare forms of epilepsy, CBD is used to treat a laundry list of different ailments including anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, nausea, and other neurological disorders.

CBD is legal in all 50 states and, according to a recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of Americans have tried it at least once or have some level of familiarity with it, and 14 percent of people use it regularly. For adults under the age of 35, it is the preferred treatment method for mental health disorders.

Cannabis Holidays – Final Thoughts

Aside from 420, what cannabis holidays will you be celebrating this year? And how do you plan to celebrate? Let us know in the comment section below and make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

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Here Are 7 Cannabis Strains That Will Boost Appetite

If you are struggling with eating enough in a day, outlined below are seven cannabis strains that will help boost your appetite. Earlier this week we discussed how cannabis stimulates your appetite and gives you the munchies. To summarize, cannabis contains cannabinoids which are also found naturally in our bodies and affect our endocannabinoid system. […]

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The Art of Terpene Recreation: Replicating Cannabis Strain Profiles

While cannabis strains are typically praised for the strength and effects of their cannabinoids, a growing number of connoisseurs and industry pros alike are recognizing that a strain’s terpene profile can be of equal import.

Terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in all plants, give each strain its particular taste and scent. A cannabis plant can contain over 100 different terpenes, and the particular balance of each helps set it apart from its peers. As cannabis moves closer to the mainstream, more consumers are becoming curious about terpene profiles — particularly those of legendary strains like Jack Herer and Pineapple Express. Luckily, a range of products have appeared on the scene to help people get a taste of the OGs.

(Re)making the Magic Happen

Lock & Key Remedies, in the industrial neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is one of these terpene-focused businesses looking at strain recreation. The company, co-founded by industry veterans Oleg MaryAces and Andres Moreira, has developed a series of CBD vape cartridges that try and recreate the terpene profiles of four iconic strains: Girl Scout Cookies, Cherry Pie, Tangie and Blue Dream. When I visited the company’s office on a gray morning this January, it quickly became clear that Lock & Key’s vision is rooted in a love both for precise science and cannabis itself.

The company’s name, for instance, refers to the way compounds interlock with each other on a cellular level. And Lock & Key uses pre-existing lab reports of various strain profiles as launching-off points for developing their own CBD alternatives. Moreira, who heads the company’s on-site lab, went through a dozen trials of each formulation before sending them to market.

Maryasis was eager to explain terpenes’ myriad health benefits to me, which he did in a manner that recalled a mad scientist and a gourmand chef in equal measure. The terpene myrcene, for instance, has a sedative effect, he says. Furthermore, Maryasis told me, “it has the superpower of helping the blood brain barrier, which magnifies all other terpenes’ access to the brain.” Limonene, which features more prominently in the Tangie strain, has a more citrusy taste. But too much, Maryasis cautioned, “wouldn’t be pleasant, even if you like citrus.”

He pointed out that even trace amounts of various terpenes can have an outsized influence on a plant’s aroma. “The synergistic effects cannot be overstated,” he said, citing sweet orange and grapefruit as an example: “[Their terpene profiles are roughly only 3 percent different], but it changes everything about them.”

Twisting Terps Into Innovation

Other terpene-minded businesses have taken a different approach: Blue River Terpenes, in Oakland, California, for instance, borrowed inspiration from the fragrance industry to develop a line of cannabinoid-free versions of some top-shelf strains including Cookies and Wakanda Grapes (and sells them at top-shelf prices) that can be applied to the skin or even added to food. The company’s CEO Tony Verzura developed a modified vapor vacuum distillation system that, as Leafly pointed out, is capable of extracting terpenes “by using only nitrogen, oxygen, and reverse osmosis (or RO) water.”

Finding the middle ground between these two companies, the Colorado-based company Evolab adds “FreshTerps” extracts to their various products in various proportions. Their tagline reads: “Sommeliers have wine collections. Cannabis connoisseurs have FreshTerps.”

The key behind all of these products is the balance of the various terpenes; Maryasis referred to it as their “special sauce,” and was reluctant to divulge even the most general information about their specific ratios. Yet their tight-lipped approach reinforces the innovative nature of terpene science, which will only become more exciting as the industry marches forward.

While Lock & Key Remedies uses plant-derived terpenes and Blue River Terpenes uses cannabis-derived terpenes, other companies are also concocting strain profiles using synthetic terpenes. The science is still early on the medical effects of vaping terpenes, but as with most cannabis products, it’s best to know where the compounds you’re consuming come from.

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5 Must-Read Books for Cannabis History Lovers

Obviously, cannabis is trending: Weed has been making headlines left and right!

It’s all about what’s next for the popular plant, from the future of financial projections to groundbreaking advancements in the medical world. While this deluge of news keeps cannabis enthusiasts on their toes and creates buzz in the industry, modern cannabis coverage can leave some holes in perspective for those who may not be well-versed in the plant’s background and historical significance.

Having a grasp of cannabis history lends us a deeper understanding of some of the current hot topics in the cannabis world, like equity in the industry, why cannabis is still federally illegal and how the truth about its healing potential has been intentionally suppressed.

For anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the plant’s past in order to help them understand the present and even postulate its future, these books will point you in the right direction. But keep in mind that these are just a handful of great reads that will begin to give you a more well-rounded view of what’s going on now. Use these suggestions as a starting point for your research and keep looking for other books that will augment your cannabis education.

“Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America”

By Box Brown

If you’re interested in learning about how and why cannabis became illegal but not really into the traditional route of reading and researching, then this nonfiction graphic novel might fit the bill. Author Box Brown offers insight into why cannabis prohibition was introduced, breaks down the emergence of the War on Drugs and how decades of propaganda have contributed to the disproportionate incarceration of black people. It’s both entertaining and educational and though it’s illustrated, it doesn’t take away from the strength of its content.  

“Sacred Bliss: A Spiritual History of Cannabis”

By Mark S. Ferrara

Beyond the clatter of politics, legislation and legalization, there’s an oft-forgotten element to cannabis that doesn’t get nearly the same amount of coverage and that’s it’s deeply intricate connection to spirituality throughout history. This book offers a global perspective on how humans have been using cannabis to expand and enhance their consciousness for centuries. It’s equal parts cannabis history and religious history.

“Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific”

By Martin A. Lee

In this book, you’ll get a deeper look at cannabis’s ascent from a subcultural phenomenon to its current position as a mainstream topic of conversation. It covers cannabis from its prohibition to its rise in popularity through the lens of an award-winning investigative journalist with careful attention to detail. It’s a good read for anyone interested in cannabis from a number of perspectives, whether that’s medical, recreational, scientific or economic.

“The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy”

By Jack Herer

This classic book is just as much a part of cannabis history as the information inside of it. Written by infamous cannabis activist and advocate Jack Herer, this book was originally published in 1985 and is a useful reference for anyone who wants to take a look into how the similar the political climate around cannabis was then and now. In addition to some history, you’ll also learn a lot about the seemingly endless list of hemp’s uses and get some wisdom into why it’s taken so long for it to be legalized.

“Pot in Pans”

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Lovers of cannabis-infused edibles will enjoy this book all about weed’s culinary roots. It’s an interesting look at how different cultures throughout time have utilized the plant as cooking ingredient through with a historical lens that offers facts as well as anecdotes. You’ll also be treated to a few recipes throughout the book in addition to learning how cooking with cannabis has survived the ages.

TELL US, what’s on your cannabis history reading list?

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Remembering Jack Herer: The Hemperor of Cannabis

Jack Herer was a real man, the Hemperor of cannabis, and was one of the most influential figures in the founding of the cannabis legalization movement.

Origins of the Hemperor

Jack Herer (pronounced hair-er, not her-air) was born on June 18, 1939, in Buffalo, New York to a conservative Jewish family. Herer’s father passed away while he was still a child, and as soon as he was old enough, Herer dropped out of high school to join the Army, serving as a military policeman and translator during the Korean War. When Herer returned home, he began raising a family in Southern California and had his first three children by the mid-60s, his sons Barry (named for Barry Goldwater), Dan and Mark. Later on, he had three more children, River, Chanci and BJ. Herer was not always the Hemperor of cannabis, believe it or not, he “allegedly threatened to leave the first of his four wives upon finding out that she had smoked pot.” After Herer divorced his first wife he moved to Los Angeles in 1967, where he discovered cannabis and experienced a self-transformation.

Herer spent the next half a decade immersing himself in everything cannabis and in 1973 he founded the Ah Ha Pipe Company. That same year marked the release of “G.R.A.S.S.” — “Great Revolutionary American Standard System: The Official Guide for Assessing the Quality of Marijuana on the 1 to 10 scale” — a zine Herer co-authored with Al Emmanuel, illustrated by Carl Muecke. In 1979, Herer teamed up with “Captain” Ed Adair to open a hemp store in Venice Beach, California. This became a friendship that would last the rest of their lives, as they both fought to legalize hemp until the day they died.

As a veteran of the Korean War, Herer was one of the first veterans leading the fight to legalize cannabis, and took the fight all the way to President Reagan himself. Along the way he recruited many other vets to his cause, his wife Jeannie explains, “he respected people like the veterans who were living under the bridges in LA, homeless veterans. These guys were the ones who volunteered to help him go out and get signatures on the sheet to get his initiatives passed.”

Canadians and Ronald Reagan

As told in the book “Pot Stories for the Soul” Herer recalls, “in May 1980, I began a series of protests on the front lawn of the Los Angeles Federal Building in Westwood that would last for as many as 100 days at a time [and] on the flagpole, we hung a huge marijuana-leaf flag.” The protest was an effort to register voters and collect signatures for a 1982 marijuana legalization initiative. In January 1981, a few days before taking office, President-Elect Ronald Reagan made an appearance at the federal building and remarked to the building manager, “Why are those Canadians down on the lawn?” The manager replied that they weren’t Canadians, “Those are the marijuana protesters, and they live down there 24 hours a day.”

Reagan promised that once he took office he would see what he could do, and what he did was reissue a World War II era anti-sabotage act which would prohibit anyone from being on federal property after dark. While the other five protesters who were charged in the incident all paid the $5 fine, Herer stuck to his principles, saying that he was registering voters, one of the most patriotic acts an American could do, and had done nothing wrong. In the end, Herer went to prison for 15 days, and it was in those two weeks at Terminal Island prison that “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” was born.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

“The Emperor Wears No Clothes” is the culmination of more than a decade of research and life experience that Herer accumulated between moving to LA in 1967, and his fateful face-off with President Ronald Reagan at the Los Angeles Federal Building. First published in 1985, and printed on hemp paper, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” is Herer’s magnum opus and greatest gift to humanity. The work is a non-fiction book that manages to be accessible to a wide variety of readers and covers a vast array of topics. It is also firmly grounded in historical and scientific facts. The work was largely put together at the insistence of Herer’s dear friend Captain Ed and is now in its 12th edition selling nearly 1 million copies and earning the title of, “the #1 best selling hemp book of all time.” Tied into Herer’s writing of “The Emperor” was his discovery of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s WWII era short film, “Hemp for Victory”, which covers the numerous war-time uses for hemp and encourages farmers to be patriots by growing hemp to win the war.

Chris Conrad was a friend of Herer’s, founder of The Leaf Online, and someone who worked intimately with him to turn the first edition of the “Emperor,” which was “essentially a scrapbook of factoids about cannabis mixed with polemics against the Drug War” into the book we all know and love today. Conrad met Herer in 1989, after coming across a first edition of “The Emperor” which included a copy of the WWII-era USDA film “Hemp for Victory”. Herer’s expert research unearthed a film that the Library of Congress first told him did not exist and it was later restored to the national archives.

“Working with [Jack] on his book was an enlightening experience,” said Ellen Komp, the current deputy director of California NORML. He read and re-read every line, weighing it for accuracy and impact. We worked at a 24-hour computer rental shop on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, on the graveyard shift (when rent was cheaper). Once in a while, he’d look around and say, ‘Everything here could be made of hemp. The plastics, the furniture, the carpets, the curtains…’”

Chris Conrad and Jack Herer

The impact of “The Emperor” was immediate and far-reaching, including those outside the cannabis world. According to Rick Cusick, a friend of Herer’s, former co-editor at High Times and the current COO of Whoopi & Maya, “the early editions of ‘The Emperor’ had a esthetic/artistic influence on cutting edge magazine art directors working in the 1980s like Ray Gun’s David Carson, of course on the DIY esthetic in the 90s.” Herer, Cusick said, “was the heart of our movement and a true American original.”

Yes We CAN

In a 1991 interview with Captain Ed, Herer commented on their friendship saying, “This guy made me promise to work to legalize marijuana until I was dead, it was legal, or I turned 84. And we had a shake on it, and agreed to this, smoked a joint on it.”

Unfortunately Captain Ed died later that year from Leukemia at 50 years old, leaving Herer devastated, but far from alone in his quest for hemp legalization.

While Herer was out traveling on the road promoting “The Emperor” he was also busy creating the Cannabis Action Network with Rick Pfrommer, Debby Goldsberry and other members of his entourage. CAN, and by association Herer, became an integral part in the spread of 420 around the country during the ’90s while they were doing their Hemp Tour. It was in 1994 that Herer met his fourth wife, Jeannie. They married three years later in 2000.

By now, Herer had been trying to legalize cannabis in California for nearly 30 years and had circulated several different ballot initiatives over the years.

“After the ‘Emperor’” says Conrad, “we set about our next task, co-authoring and filing the 1990 California Hemp Initiative (CHI).” Conrad added that, the CHI “has been refiled and circulated repeatedly since, including this year, but it never made the ballot.” As opposed to Prop 215 which was exclusively medical, Conrad explains, “the California Hemp Initiative was comprehensive legalization — industrial hemp, medical marijuana, adult use and commercial distribution all in one bill.”

Prop 215 was the work of Dennis Peron, Dr. Tod Mikuriya, and a team of dozens of other activists (including Komp, Conrad and his wife Mikki Norris), and when it passed in 1996 it created America’s first medical cannabis program. After getting “quite upset” when his friends were hired as organizers for the Prop 215 campaign, Herer ended up becoming a signature gatherer and also converted many of his CHI supporters into dual signature gatherers to aid both bills.

The Healing Power of Mushrooms & His Final Years

In 2000, the same year he married Jeannie, Herer suffered his first stroke while in Portland, four minutes into the middle of an impassioned speech. The stroke left him with great difficulty speaking, Mary Otte was Herer’s personal assistant from 2004-2005, and says that Herer, “credited low doses of Amanita muscaria on the daily for making connections necessary for speech after his stroke.” Herer explained this process briefly in a 2005 speech he gave in Monterey. In reply to a friend suggesting he try LSD, he said “I will try some amanita muscaria” and taking just a couple of grams a day he was able to regain his ability to speak. Carson Higby Flowers was one of Herer’s caregivers after his stroke and remembers “giving him cannabis oil in capsules” and fondly recalled, “the time we took mushrooms and watched Young Frankenstein on Halloween together. We laughed so hard it hurt… Putting on the Ritz part really cracked him up. I think it was because he could relate to not being able speak clearly like he once could.”

In September 2009, while back in Portland for the Hempstalk festival, Herer bellowed out this message of encouragement to a crowd “You’ve got to be out of your mind not to smoke dope… It is the best thing the world has ever had!” While exiting the stage he ran into his old friend Conrad, who was about to take the stage to speak. Conrad remembered that fateful encounter well, he was on stage reminiscing on his work with Herer, “when a woman walked onto the stage and interrupted me. She took the mic and said ‘Jack needs your prayers now.’” Conrad finished his speech and saw an ambulance drive by, not knowing who was inside. “Only later did I learn that Jack was in that ambulance: He had had a heart attack just after we spoke and he never recovered. It was the last time I saw him alive.”

Herer fought on another seven months until April 15, 2010, when he passed away from complications from his heart attack.

“The most amazing thing about him was his powerful voice, which could be heard clear as a bell at the back of any event where he spoke,” Komp said. “It was a gift that he used well, stumping around the country to preach the hemp message at a time when very few knew more than ‘rope and dope’ about hemp. His work reinvigorated the marijuana reform movement after the horrible 1980s ‘Just Say No’ days imprisoned and stigmatized so many. On a personal level, he was a warm and loving man, always with a twinkle in his eye and a love for life. He’s the reason I became an activist and I miss him to this day.”

Herer never lived to see a single state legalize cannabis for recreational use, and now, only six years after his death, four states, and Washington D.C., have legalized the adult use of cannabis. On top of that, since Herer’s passing 11 more states, and Washington D.C., have legalized medical cannabis. One plot twist in the effort to legalize cannabis Herer never lived to see was the passage and spread of CBD-only medical cannabis programs, which are now in 16 states. Herer would have been 76 on June 18, neither he nor Captain Ed could make it to 84 as they promised each other many years ago, but their legacy will last for countless years onward.

This week marks not only Herer’s birthday, but is a major week for cannabis conferences on both coasts of America, bringing together a diverse and eclectic crowd of investors, hippies, political activists, government regulators, and all manner of other folks. In this time of exponential growth it is worth asking what would Herer do? What would he have to say regarding the heavy commercialization of the plant he hoped would save the world? What would he think about thousands of cannabis prisoners still locked away for growing a plant?

Jack Herer the Strain

“Getting high on myself – there’s no other high quite like it!” – Jack Herer

Jack Herer was reported to be a very big fan of smoking the strain that bears his name, and it is no surprise as to why, as Jack Herer has won at least “14 prizes in various cannabis competitions, making it the most decorated strain in the world.” Jack Herer was a close friend with Ben Dronkers, the master breeder at Sensi Seeds, who wanted to honor his friend’s work on the ‘Emperor Wears No Clothes’ with a gift fitting his namesake. After several years of intense work to stabilize the genetics, Jack Herer was ready to be released to the world, and “was launched in 1994 during a ceremony in The Cannabis Castle… done in the presence of the most important figures in the cannabis industry and, of course, of the man himself, who triumphantly enjoyed this moment.”

TELL US, have you ever smoked the Jack Herer strain?

The post Remembering Jack Herer: The Hemperor of Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Celebrating Jack Herer, ‘The Hemperor’

Jack Herer was likely the figure most responsible for the revolution in cannabis consciousness in the 1990s — especially where the industrial applications of hemp are concerned.

Born June 18, 1939, Jack Herer was a cannabis rights activist the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, his landmark book calling for the re-scheduling and legalization of cannabis.

As a veteran of the Korean War, Herer was one of the first veterans leading the fight to legalize cannabis, and took the fight all the way to President Reagan himself. Passing away in 2010, Herer never lived to see a single state legalize cannabis for recreational use.

This week marks Herer’s birthday and to honor his legacy, here are four articles that will bring you closer to the legend who fought for the legalization of cannabis for nearly all his life.

READ: Remembering the Godfather of the Modern Hemp Legalization Movement

Eddy Lepp, a cannabis activist who has been arrested for growing medical marijuana numerous times, remembers his friend and colleague in the cannabis movement, Jack Herer. Lepp gives great insight Herer’s life and paints an accurate image of the cannabis community during the ’70s and ’80s.

Jack Herer strain

READ: Strain Review – Jack Herer

This world-renowned strain was named after and bred in honor of the legendary author and cannabis activist, Jack Herer. As one of the industry’s most awarded strains, it’s become a staple for connoisseur smokers and growers alike and is regarded by many as one of the most elite hybrids ever created.

PHOTO Martin Vorel

READ: Re-Legalize it? Herer’s Legacy Lives on in Hemp Initiative

The legendary hemp crusader Jack Herer drew up a California ballot initiative for a cannabis economy based on maximum freedom. He did not live to see its passage. But amid growing disillusionment with the Prop 64 legalization model, his heirs believe that in 2020, his hour has posthumously arrived.

Bright yellow Jack Herer infused butternut squash risotto sits in a yelloware bowl, with a wooden spoon sitting atop.
Photo via Pixabay

READ: Jack Herer Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Using cannabutter made from the strain Jack Herer, chef Jessica Catalano presents a delicious Butternut Squash Risotto edibles recipe. If you want to get really nerdy in celebrating The Hemperor’s birthday, get your ingredients to make this dish on June 18.

TELL US, did you know Jack Herer’s story?

The post Celebrating Jack Herer, ‘The Hemperor’ appeared first on Cannabis Now.