Friday, April 16, 2010

Hempy trails, Jack...

(Jack Herer, 1939-2010; photographer unknown)

Many of you probably know I love hemp. The plant that can be used for food, fibre, fuel, paper, plastic, soap and rope (even dope if you count hemp's sister plant marijuana) is not just incredibly versatile but also environmental, historical, industrial, medicinal, renewable and frankly, logical:

The way I see it, hemp just makes sense and more and more people like you are click by click and wow by wow discovering this... and making good things happen with it.

The world has lost perhaps the most important hemp advocate. On April 15th, Jack Herer passed away at the age of 70.

In 2004, the L.A. Times wrote: "Herer is widely credited with launching the modern hemp movement, a persistent campaign by an eclectic coalition of environmentalists, legislators, rights activists, farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs and others to end the maligned plant's banishment and tap its potential as a natural resource..."

Jack, the author of the landmark book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" (read it online here) is the person who took the age-old hemp plant and its myriad uses out of obscurity in the late 1980s.

Having been all but banned, banished and shunned since the late 1930s, hemp was essentially rediscovered and fully exposed for modern readers by Jack's book. In researching the book, he uncovered lost documents about Henry Ford's virtually indestructible hemp car; about "Hemp For Victory" a pro-hemp film made by the U.S. government during WWII and subsequently hidden; and among other things, the truth about how nutritious hemp seeds are and how high they are in protein, amino acids and omega fatty acids.

I never had the opportunity to meet Jack but had we met I would have thanked him for turning me and so many others on to this plant and its immeasurable potential.

I've now spent 5 years wearing, eating, researching, and sharing hemp and products derived from hemp. Jack inspired me to do my homework on this plant and after all this time I can't find a good reason for our society not to use this plant more. In a time of eco crisis, here is a plant that's easy to grow, requires no pesticides and little water, and actually heals the soil as it grows. Add to that all that can be done with it once harvested.

Thanks, Jack, for all you did. We will carry your work forward each day. We'll miss you next month as we celebrate the first annual Hemp History Week.

You can read Jack Herer's obituary here. And here is a very nice article about Jack's funeral.

Curious about hemp? Want free Dr. Bronner's hemp soap samples or Manitoba Harvest hemp seed samples? Come by Montreal's CinemaSpace at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts the world's first hemp-seat movie theatre I run and we'll happily give you some.

Best to all from Montreal,