Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

August 25, 2010
Months after death, legendary pot activist stokes Prop 19 debate

Thumbnail image for West Coast Cannabis.JPGAmong some fervent advocates in the California marijuana movement, debate rages over whether the Proposition 19 initiative to permit recreational pot use is an important historic landmark or a sellout of Utopian ideals for legalizing weed.

And the most sought-after endorsement in this discussion is that of a famed cannabis author and activist who is no longer among the living.

Jack Herer was known as the "Hemperor" for his hemp cultivation advocacy book - "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." He was also a fiery advocate for unrestricted legalization of marijuana. Moments before suffering a debilitating heart attack last September, Herer exhorted a cannabis festival crowd in Portland: "There is nothing (expletive) better for the human race than having marijuana morning, noon and night."

Herer died in April at 70. He was memorialized in a cover story in West Coast Cannabis magazine and in an eulogy by publisher Ngaio Bealum "as a visionary, a warrior, a prophet, a legend, and a helluva man."

But since his death, some marijuana legalization advocates -- including a few stoner bloggers -- have pointed to Herer's criticism of Proposition 19 to argue that the initiative doesn't go far enough to protect rights of marijuana users and cultivators.

But Herer's own family is now weighing in to declare the late advocate's yes "vote" on Prop 19.

A letter, signed on behalf of his children by Dan Herer, his second oldest son, is being circulated to argue that Herer would stand solidly behind Proposition 19 despite early misgivings.

Here is a lengthy except:

Jack railed against Tax Cannabis 2010, now Proposition 19, and its plan for limited legalization and local authority to tax and regulate marijuana sales to adults 21 and above. It falls far short of what he wanted. Jack 'wanted it all,' and Prop 19 is just a part of that dream.

Unfortunately, Jack passed away before Prop 19 made the 2010 ballot; so many people think he would still oppose it. We don't believe that, and we ask that everyone stop saying he would cling to that position as we move toward the Nov. 2 vote.

As his family, we want the world to know that the last thing Jack Herer would want is for Californians to vote to keep Cannabis illegal. He was smart and had the political savvy to know that once a measure is on the ballot, the time for bickering has passed.

That is why he campaigned for Prop 215 despite its shortcomings. That is why, were he able, he would now be telling voters to rally around and Vote Yes on Prop 19.

To read the full Herer family letter, click here.

Pictured: West Coast Cannabis magazine Jack Herer tribute cover.

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