Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Marijuana activist showing signs of improvement after heart attack

By Anne Saker, The Oregonian

Jack Herer, a leader in the modern marijuana legalization movement, has been discharged from a Portland hospital nearly a month after a Sept. 12 heart attack, and his family has moved him to a Eugene nursing facility.

Herer, 70, of Lower Lake, Calif., had just delivered what for him was a typical barn-burner of a speech promoting hemp at Portland's Hempstalk  festival when he collapsed. He was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center  and was in critical but stable condition for more than three weeks.

Herer had improved enough to be released from Emanuel and moved, said Paul Stanford,  a longtime friend who is executive director of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation  in Portland.

"He is waking up and gazing appropriately when someone's talking," Stanford said Monday, "but he's not really communicating in any way."

The heavy-set Herer suffered a stroke in 2000, and for several years after, he struggled to regain his speech and locomotion. Stanford said that before Herer addressed the Sept. 12 festival at Portland's Kelley Point Park,  "Jack was telling everyone that he never felt better."

Herer wrote the 1985 book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes,"  a history of hemp that he self-published and distributed underground on his constant speaking trips across the United States, mainly to college campuses. The book is in its 11th printing and is considered the founding document of the legalization movement in the Just Say No era.

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