The Emperor Of Hemp
The Curator on High!
Jack Herer is the author of ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes‘.
The book is considered to be ‘The Bible Of The Hemp Movement’.
Below is the transcript from the television interview Casper Leitch did with Jack Herer in 1991.
Jack Herer Takes Time 4 Hemp!
Casper Leitch: This interview is with one of the founding fathers of the hemp movement. He has been heralded by ‘High Times Magazine’ as ‘The Patron Saint’ Of The Cannabis Movement’. He’s author of the book, ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes’. He’s one of the hardest working activists in the past seventeen years. Doing everything he can to make the wonderful hemp plant –legal. Jack Herer. Jack, welcome.
Jack Herer: Thanks Casper. How are you doing?
Casper Leitch: Fine, Jack can you tell me how you first began getting involved in the hemp movement? And what it was that got you all excited about hemp?
Jack Herer: Well, it kind of happened in two stages. In 1969, I was thirty years old and this young lady turned me on to some pot because she thought I was very square. Ha ha ha. She thought I never had any real feelings. I told her of course I felt everything that anybody else did. She insisted on getting me high. I tried it and I liked it. But I had to try it a few times, just like anybody.
Nothing happened the first two or three times I smoked pot. Then one day she came home with some Acapulco Gold. She rolled up a bunch of joints and said “here I want you to keep smoking these”. I got very stoned. She put some earphones on me and I heard music in color. I said “this is the best I’ve ever felt in my life. And it’s illegal!?” Ha ha ha. So that’s how I kind of got involved with smoking it.
A couple years later a friend of mine and I had written the delineation. Basically a book with a one to ten scale of how good pot was. Pretty soon we delineated the buzz as mild high, very high, mild stoned, very stoned and stoned stoned. So what happened at that point was, the government picked up the book I’d written with my friend, Allan Manual. This immediately made it a world standard for some thousands and thousands of studies.
Casper Leitch: Really?
Jack Herer: Yeah, for ongoing critical studies. The participants had to say how good the grass they were smoking was based on the Jack Herer 1-10 scale. They were asked; “did you have a buzz or a mild high?” Abuzz, for instance, we had delineated a buzz as the first feeling you got from smoking grass. You know, that feeling that something is different inside you. A mild high tells you it was a shade higher. Very stoned means you could get lost walking in the kitchen. Ha ha ha.
Casper Leitch: Yeah…been there, done that, forgot the t-shirt, ha ha ha.
Jack: You remember those times? Ha ha ha.
Casper Leitch: No, that’s how I know I had them, ha, ha, ha.
Jack Herer: One day, in 1973, I walked into the office for the California Marijuana Initiative. I didn’t know anything about marijuana other than this funny little book that my friend and I had put together. And there were all these kids in there that knew all this esoteric information about cannabis. They showed me this book (Jack picks up a book from the floor and opens it) almost two hundred years old–completely made out of pot.
Casper Leitch: Wow, wait a minute.
Jack Herer: All paper, long ago, was made of hemp. All paper was made from rags. The predominant rag was hemp, marijuana. This paper lasts nearly forever. In fact, if it were legal, its pulp would now make all of our paper. One acre of hemp equals four acres of trees. And it can make every grade of paper. And those kids started telling me that all the towels and diapers we use today can be made of hemp. At the time, I was just interested in getting high.
Casper Leitch: Is that when you first began your research?
Jack Herer: Well, yeah. I started writing leaflets for their cause. They would say things to me like; “how could you not research more about this plant when you find out facts like these?'” I was maybe thirty-three at this time when I found out that ‘canvasa’ was the Dutch pronunciation of ‘cannabis.’ Until then, I didn’t know that canvas sails, like the ones found on Old Ironsides’, were made of hemp. All through the last century the word ‘canvas’ meant ‘cannabis’. And canvas sails were cannabis sails; and the canvas covered wagons that went west were cannabis covered wagons. Wow, what a trip! And all this material coming from one plant.
It was softer, warmer, and more durable than any other fiber. It was an incredible plant and I thought –‘wow this is interesting. I never realized how much it could do. This plant could make all the paper, fiber, fuel, and protein rich food for the whole earth. It would be the number one food source to feed the earth’s people and animals. If it weren’t illegal. It’s the best protein source because it’s seed oil-almost exactly matches human blood plasma. No other seed oil on earth does this. Birds live ten to twenty percent longer if they have hemp seed in their diet; whether they’re birds in the wild or birds in a cage. I found out by 1973 that our politicians, probably through complete ignorance, had made the whole system of our education so ignorant that we have become Lemmings.
We are now killing ourselves because the number one plant for paper, fiber and fuel from the natural cycle has been outlawed. Somehow, the synthetic cycle had won out over the number one plant in the natural cycle. A plant that can out-produce the synthetic cycle and completely clean up the atmosphere. So my partner, Capt. Ed, who had become a partner in 1973, said; “we have to teach everybody in the world the truth.” So, we went around and told everybody who would listen, ha, ha, ha. It was a slow process and along the way we started to learn more and more about hemp. That’s how I got involved in the movement.
Casper Leitch: Okay now in your 18 years of walking this path. Who has inspired you? What are your reliable resources of information? What are the statistics that back up all the wonderful things that you’re saying about hemp?
Jack Herer: Well, some of my findings come from the Unite States Department of Agriculture. Some of my findings come from the Department’s of Agriculture of the states of Kentucky and Wisconsin. I found the actual minutes of the 1937 Congressional and Senatorial testimonies. In them it states that all plastic was to be made out of pot. All paper was to be made out of marijuana. Government Bulletin 404, released 1960. The whole bulletin was actually printed on marijuana paper. On hemp paper!
Casper Leitch: So back then they were saying “hemp for fiber, fuel, and paper” right?
Jack Herer: Oh yeah! And then, in 1937, an article was written that was published in 1938 in Popular Mechanics magazine called The New Billion-Dollar Crop: Hemp!
Casper Leitch: Oh yeah.
Jack Herer: This is exactly the way it appeared in Popular Mechanics in Feb. of 1938. What happened at the time is a new machine brought the harvesting time of a field of hemp down to less than 300 man-hours per acre. Suddenly, it was affordable to use hemp to make all the cellophane, paper, fuel, paint, food, cloth, and even dynamite. Twenty-five thousand new products! It was the first time the word ‘billion’ had ever been used pertaining to dollars earned from American agriculture!
Casper Leitch: The first time!?
Jack Herer: The first time it had ever been used with an American agriculture crop! Actually, everybody thought linen was made out of flacks, but it states in Popular Mechanics that almost all linen was actually made from hemp. That no one but an expert could tell the difference. The article further states that the paper industry “offers even greater possibilities in industry that amounts to over a billion dollars a year.” That’s about 80 to 100 billion at today’s rates. The article stated that hemp”‘will produce every grade of paper and US government figures estimate that ten thousand acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as forty thousand acres of wood.”
Casper Leitch: Now, once you realized all this, is that when you started to put all the parts of this puzzle together?
Jack Herer: Yeah?
Casper Leitch: What was your first impression? I mean, what did you feel? Anger? Rage? Enthusiasm?
Jack Herer: I wondered how people could outlaw a natural thing like this? I was one of the people that probably thought it was okay to outlaw it before I started smoking pot. I realize I was ignorant. They didn’t teach us this in school. They didn’t teach us that the flags were all made out of pot. They didn’t tell that the first and second draft of the Declaration of Independence was made out of pot. Maybe it wasn’t important then, but you know, it’s so important now.
I can’t get mad at ignorance. I can just get mad at the situation that creates ignorance,. In this case, it is the law. My partner, Captain Ed, made me take a pledge to teach the truth about hemp until I was dead or hemp was legalized. Hemp is definitely the number one plant for paper, fiber and fuel. And probably the healthiest single thing a human being ever uses. Along the way I found out that hemp, when you smoke it: dilates your arteries, lowers your body temperature, and lowers your ocular pressure. It opens and dilates your bronchial better than anything else on earth! It lowers your stress. Stress is the number one killer on earth. Here is the healthiest thing that, statistic after statistic has indicated, might help you to live longer if you smoke it everyday. What kind of idiot would make somebody else be a Lemming for some stupid law that politicians, in their ignorance, made up?
Casper Leitch: Excellent point.
Jack Herer: They were treasonous criminals working for pharmaceutical companies. Like George Bush, when he used to work with Eli Lilly.
Casper Leitch: Okay, now you keep using the word ‘hemp’. The name of your organization is H.E.M.P., which stands for Help End Marijuana Prohibition. ‘Hemp’ seems to be your favorite word. In all honesty, isn’t ‘hemp’ just another name for ‘marijuana’? I mean, why aren’t you using the word ‘marijuana’? Why do you keep using the word ‘hemp’? Hammering it into people’s minds as if ‘hemp’ is something different than marijuana?
Jack Herer: Along the way I began to read all this William Randolph Hearst yellow journalism. Whether it was from him or from his newspaper editors or some conjunction of his.
Casper Leitch: His ‘yellow journalism,’ what do you mean?
Jack Herer: If you look up ‘yellow journalism’ in the dictionary, it will tell you William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper is the very definition of it.
Casper Leitch: I know what ‘yellow journalism’ is, but how did Hearst apply this type of reporting towards the topic of hemp?.
Jack Herer: He was doing sensational-outrageous stories about marijuana. He had headlines across the country; ‘Marijuana goads boys to blood lust and murder in thirty days’. Well, you know, I’ve never seen anybody do anything on pot except get the munchies . Ha ha. I don’t know. They would say marijuana ‘turns a man into a gunman’. That ‘ax murderers smoked marijuana cigarettes four days before they commit murder’
Casper Leitch: Kind of like the film, Reefer Madness?
Jack Herer: Yeah. So he turned the word ‘marijuana’ into a negative word’. I realize now the word comes from the Mexican Senorin Colloquialism slang for ‘intoxicated’. It didn’t even mean the flower of the hemp plant. The value of the ‘marijuana plant’ is actually the flower. The value of the ‘hemp plant’ is the stalk. But the word ‘marijuana’ became known by the Mexicans and the Blacks who smoked it along the border in the Southwest and New Orleans. They called it ‘marijuana’–or ‘reefer’.
Now, by this time in history we also had hundred and hundreds of cannabis medications. The number one, two and three medicines used in America during most of the 1800’s were made of cannabis-hemp. Until 1863, it was the number one medicine we had in the United States for asthma and for muscular spasms. It was the only thing for tetanus. When somebody got tetanus they were given massive doses of hashish,, or what was called hemp extractions or cannabis extracts. Nobody ever died from it. I want to repeat that. There’s never been a single death from the use of marijuana cannabis!
Casper Leitch: Not one?
Jack Herer: Not one! None that we know of. Maybe at the hands of police if they ever hung anyone with a hemp rope. I mean, there are probably some car accidents that have happened because someone was too high. It’s well known that people do seem to drive a lot safer after smoking a joint then after they drink alcohol. Study after study after study. From ‘Car and Driver Magazine’ to the studies done at the University of Washington. All have concluded that people actually drive a little safer, as far as getting home from a party, then even people that are sober. People who smoke marijuana just missed their freeway exits more often. Ha ha ha.
Casper Leitch: Ha ha ha, I understand. I really can relate. As you’ve go across the country on your book tours, what kind of response do you get on the topic of hemp? What kinds of attitudes do you receive in Nebraska, Indiana, Mayberry RFD, you know?
Jack Herer: Well, in a lot of cases I’m talking to choir. You know, the people that have either read my book or ‘High Times ‘. Even people that smoke pot, often times, think they’re doing something morally bad because they were taught it was morally bad.
Casper Leitch: Well, yeah, it is illegal.
Jack Herer: They don’t want to drink alcohol. They don’t want to smoke tobacco. They want to smoke a little bit of pot once in a while. The response I’ve gotten has been really great! All the state and city newspaper reporters would arrive to meet me, and usually with an attitude. They like to treat me tongue-in-cheek. Then I hit them my $10,000 challenge to prove my information wrong.
I’ve given a $10,000 challenge that there is no other plant on earth that can , as successfully as hemp, replace the fossil fuels for cars and the cutting down of trees for paper. All the other plants that grow on planet earth don’t even equal a fraction of hemp’s abilities as an annual. Hemp is the number one plant that grows on our planet.
Casper Leitch: And you have a ten grand challenge?
Jack Herer: Yeah. One guy, a Dr. Walker, took it up. He’s a doctor of horticulture. He said that we may be as much as 5% of our facts wrong. Still, after the debate, Dr. Walker became one of my biggest supporters in the country. Ha ha ha. So I mean, we don’t have anybody to truly dispute this information. I mean, it’s just information. If anybody’s going to get mad at information. you should be mad at the government for not giving you this information.
This information is available through your encyclopedia and dictionary. Why shouldn’t we have known that cannabis and canvas were the same thing? Could we have outlawed canvas? No, no! We outlawed marijuana. Going back to an earlier question. The voters outlawed ‘marijuana’ in 1937 because they didn’t know that it was ‘hemp’. So, I decided to use the word ‘hemp’. The real true English word. Just like it says in our law books here in California.
The dictionary, English word of this plant is hemp. Its botanical name is called ‘cannabis. Its been called hundreds of other names from’marijuana’ to ‘Mary Jane’. It’s the number one religious ritualistic drug in the world. It is the number one relaxant for most of Africa! I can’t find anything wrong with this plant. I can’t find any dead bodies from this plant, except at the hands of police. I couldn’t find any lung cancers caused in those who smoked it. I went and spoke with Dr. Donald Tashkin who did this study on smoked marijuana, which all the Partnerships for a Drug Free American quotes. I took part in that study and got paid by the government to smoke pot, ha ha ha.
Casper Leitch: Hey, how do you sign up?
Jack Herer: Well, you can sign up, but you’ve got to smoke really garbage pot along with the good stuff in this study. We grow much better pot in our closets here in California. Someone who smokes only tobacco will die 8-24 years sooner than someone who smokes only marijuana. Using marijuana will help you to live longer. Yet, if you are caught smoking marijuana you go to jail for three years minimum. Twenty to thirty million United States citizens smoke pot on a regular basis and the government tells us we’re crazy. We have the number one plant on earth for paper, fiber and fuel. We don’t need to take fuel out of Kuwait. We do not need to put carbon dioxide up in the atmosphere from fossil fuels. We have an annual, renewable, sustainable plant here on earth that can do it! And the one that does it best is outlawed. That’s a pretty insane society.
Casper Leitch: Okay, now you talk about politicians and you’ve talked about all the people, and all the doctors and so and so….how about debates? I mean, how about one on one in the public?
Jack Herer: I just did a debate with a medical doctor in Gainesville. He asked me if I would give my child marijuana as a medicine for asthma. I said of course, I gave it to my children when they were nine and eleven for asthma. Before that, I used to take them to the hospital for care. That was before Dr. Tashkin at UCLA told me that this was the best medicine in the world for asthma. We were taking my son, Mark, to the hospital and putting him in an oxygen tank several times a year. We were shooting him with adrenal. He was taking tons of Thopoline. Thopoline is the only legal medicine you can get. It kills kids six to twelve years sooner.
There were forty-three deaths last year and sixty-five hundred people were admitted to emergency rooms for Thopoline. It’s the only legal asthma medicine! There have been about a thousand kids who have died to date from using Thopoline. Marijuana has non-of these effects. Marijuana works much safer, much faster, and there’s never been a known death from using it. So I beat him in debate in front of his own college in Gainesville. He came over and congratulated me when I gave him the paper on Thopoline on asthma. So, I don’t lose any debates.
Casper Leitch: I understand you have been one of the few activist who has been out there just kicking ass.
Jack Herer: Yeah, nobody can beat a fact!
Casper Leitch: Okay, are there any closing statement you’d like to make at the moment?
Jack Herer: Yes. Thousands of kids have come and told me their whole families have come back together over hemp because they’ve read my book and learned the truth. So, I tell you that the time for reefer madness is over and the time for reefer gladness has begun.
Casper Leitch: All right! I’d like to thank you for being my guest today on the TV show. It has been educational, eye opening and fun.
Jack Herer: Thanks Casper.
Casper Leitch: And I hope you know that the next time you see me it will be Time 4 Hemp.