Jack Herer, also known as The Emperor of Hemp, suffered a stroke shortly after speaking at Hempstalk in Portland, Oregon on 12 Sep 09.
Paul Stanford wrote on Facebook that he collapsed of a heart attack three minutes after giving the speech in the video on the right. Mr. Herer previously suffered a heart attack in 2000, also in Oregon, which left him partially paralyzed and from which he had continued to recover.
Various sources report it took twenty to twenty-five minutes for an ambulance to arrive and that he was without oxygen for that period of time.
There were at least three reports that Mr. Herer died 18 Sep 09, but these have been found to be false. The reports were issued by CelebStoner, The Drug Policy Alliance (StopTheDrugWar.com), and Examiner.com (John English, Michael Stone). These articles have now disappeared from the internet.
On 20 Sep 09 it was reported Jack began coming out of the coma the previous day and that his eyes had momentarily opened several times and he was incessantly yawning. Hopefully, he will be able to tell us himself that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.
Mr. Herer ended his speech at Hempstalk with a passionate denunciation of taxing marijuana. It seems obvious this was in response to the filing of initiatives to tax marijuana in California and Oregon, and the attendant media frenzy over the past couple of months.
Three initiatives have been filed with the Attorney General and a bill is in the legislature that would tax and regulate marijuana in California. Additionally, there is a move in Oregon to equate marijuana with alcohol and tax it accordingly.
Mr. Herer is not alone in his opposition to the taxation of medical marijuana. Dennis Peron and Ed Rosenthal have publicly expressed similar sentiments. Just last week Dennis Peron announced on Facebook he had been fired by Oaksterdamn U for giving a talk in which he stated his opposition to their initiative proposing to tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana without limitation.
It is curious to note that in the major media blizzard extolling the financial prospects of marijuana, no one has bothered to ask these pioneers and founders of the movement what they think. Certainly, none have quoted them. All have been completely ignored. As of this writing, a Google search of the news for the past month on - "Jack Herer" tax - returns one hit, which appears to be in Moroccan. The word "tax" appears in the phrase "the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937".
In other words, so far no one seems to think what may have been Jack Herer's last words is important.
Mr. Herer attempted to get his own marijuana legalization initiative on the California ballot in 2008. Evidently, he was not able to get the signatures to qualify the measure. This, most likely, was because only volunteers were used to gather signatures.
Oakland has four dispensaries that each pay $30,000 per year to be licensed by the city to dispense medical marijuana. These dispensaries are the proponents of The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis 2010 Act (ROT 2010). The argument can be made that these four dispensaries, which together grossed $18 million in 2007 and $21 million in 2008, are paying $120,000 per year to protect their monopoly on the distribution of medical marijuana in the City of Oakland.
Measure F, sponsored by The Oakland Gang of Four, raised the tax the sick and dying pay for medicine from $1.20 per $1,000 (0.12%) to $18.00 per $1,000 (1.80%). This is equal to the tax on alcohol and will raise the amount of tax the sick and dying pay for medicine in Oakland well over a quarter of a million dollars, from about $25,000 to about $378,000. To many, this appears to be a sell-out of the medical marijuana movement.
Additionally, they intend to spend a million dollars on a signature drive to get their tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana "without limitation" initiative on the ballot in 2010. In other words, The Oakland Gang of Four intends to spend well over $1,500,000 of the money patients paid for medicine to protect their monopoly in Oakland, to prohibit commercial licensing in jurisdictions that do not tax, and to exhort the cities, counties, and state to tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana "without limitation".
Jack Herer's initiative, titled The California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative, appears to be far superior to any of the measures purporting to legalize marijuana likely to come before the people of California.
It begins not with a long-winded and superfluous list of whereases, intents, and purposes, but with the actual legal language of §11362.6 to be added to the Health & Safety Code.
Subsection 1 of the proposed §11362.6 states:
No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana
Subsection 2 of the proposed §11362.6 consists of definitions. These contain language specifically legalizing industrial hemp, recreational marijuana, and medical marijuana (or cannabis). It is to be noted that the definition of "cannabis hemp medical preparations" specifies "mental conditions".
"Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use."
Subsection 3 of the proposed §11362.6 prohibits "any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, or tax that is excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive."
Subsection 4 of the proposed §11362.6 restores "cannabis hemp medicinal preparations" to "the list of available medicines in California" and specifically exempts "prescribed cannabis hemp medical preparations" from any tax. It also prohibits any professional hearing or licensing review of physicians for "recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana".
Subsection 5 of the proposed §11362.6 prohibits the requirement of any "permit, license, or tax" for the "non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp." It also prohibits testing for "inactive and/or inert cannabis metabolites" for employment or insurance or "intoxication". In other words, not only does it define cannabis as an "euphoric" as opposed to an "intoxicant", but it specifies that evidence of cannabis use may not be used to establish charges of "intoxication" but instead such charges must be based on evidence of impairment.
Compare this to Oregon's Cannabis Tax Act, which defines cannabis as an "intoxicant" and therefore equates it to alcohol. A search of the Oregon Revised Statutes shows 2 hits for "intoxicant" and 26 for "intoxicated".
Subsection 6 of the proposed §11362.6 declares the use of cannabis hemp for religious purposes an inalienable right protected by the state and federal constitutions.
Section II of The Jack Herer Initiative would "repeal, delete, and expunge any and all provisions that conflict with the provisions of this initiative."
Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.
Section III of The Jack Herer Initiative authorizes the legislature to enact measures to regulate commercial marijuana. It sets a limit of $1,000 on any "license or permit fee required by the state" for "commercial production, distribution, or use" and requires sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age. Compare this to Oaksterdamn U's proposal, which stipulates cities and counties must tax marijuana in order to license "concessionary establishments", and prohibits commercial sales and distribution in cities and counties that do not pass such a tax.
This section also authorizes taxing "commercial" sales, so long as "no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce."
The only flaw found in the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative is the title.
It should be called The Jack Herer Initiative.
The suggested deadline to file an initiative with the California Attorney General is this Friday, September 25, 2009. Filing an initiative requires a $200 application fee. Then the Attorney General has about 30 days to prepare an official summary. Once the official summary is filed the proponents have 150 days to gather the signatures to qualify for the ballot.
I can think of no more fitting legacy for the Emperor of Hemp than to get The Jack Herer Initiative And Act on the California ballot in 2010, and to pass it.
On 19 Sep 09 The Salem-News reported that to help with financial expenses, donations are accepted at all US Bank branches, make your deposit to: JACK HERER DONATION FUND. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.