|12 Oct 2009
- News website Oregon Live (www.oregonlive.com
) reports: Jack Herer
, a leader in the modern marijuana legalization movement, has been discharged from a Portland hospital a month after a heart attack, and his family has moved him to a Eugene nursing facility.
Herer, 70, of Lower Lake, California, 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.
The marijuana activist 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 on Monday, "but he's not really communicating in any way."
The heavy-set hemp hero 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.
Jack wrote much of "Emperor" while living in Portland campaigning for legalization and later was instrumental in two West Coast voter initiatives to allow patients to use marijuana as medicine - California in 1996 and Oregon in 1998.
A cantankerous, boisterous, zealous promoter of hemp and marijuana, Jack Herer was the subject of a 1999 documentary "The Emperor of Hemp" financed by Anita Roderick, founder of The Body Shop.
"He is a true American original," said Rick Cusick, associate publisher of High Times magazine. "He's lovable to a ridiculous degree even as he's annoying to a ridiculous degree, and I say that with deep, deep love."
"He wins over everybody he's ever met," Cusick said. "The reason he wins them over is that in a world filled with phonies, he is absolutely sincere."