Hemperor Jack Herer Still Fighting

CANNABIS CULTURE – After suffering a heart attack in September, Jack Herer has been on a bumpy ride through health troubles and personal drama fit for an Hemperor.

The tragic story of one of the most well-known activists in the marijuana movement has taken many twists and turns since the publication of the following Salem-News.com article. Please read Cannabis Culture‘s comments after the article and stay tuned to CC for an in-depth feature article featuring interviews with key players.

Jack Herer: A Man Well-Loved is Saved Again

by Bonnie King, Salem-News.com

For over 30 years, Jack Herer has been the inexhaustible guru of the hemp movement. Many people have expressed their deep concern for Jack’s well-being since his heart attack in mid-September, at an Oregon hemp festival.

Sunday night, Jack Herer was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Eugene from the rehabilitation center where he has been receiving care. His breathing became more distressed throughout the afternoon, and finally he was rushed to the Emergency Room.

He was diagnosed with bronchitis, and given antibiotics to overcome the illness. Such prevention may not have been possible just a few days ago, when a “Do Not Transport” order was in effect. Because of a recent change in Jack’s care, they were able to get him appropriate treatment, which could literally have saved his life.

More good news, Jack has been responding well to Speech, Physical and Occupational therapy treatments administered at the care center where he’s residing in Eugene, Oregon. He is coherent. His speech is beginning to come back. He has no IV’s, no breathing tube, and though he has a feeding tube, they expect to remove it as soon as this week.

The bad news, is the breakdown within the ranks of Jack’s supporters. While Jack works to heal and rehabiitate, the world outside his room is swirling with controversy.

Much has been said as of late regarding the recent change of Jack’s care management, and the subject has seemingly taken on a life of its own. Jeannie Herer and others are unhappy with the new decision by the care center to acknowledge a Power of Attorney that moves authority of Jack’s care to Joy Graves and Chuck Jacobs.

Avamere Riverpark is a reputable facility providing nursing care and physical rehabilitation for Jack. Nurses and rehab therapists are working closely with him and the medical staff, providing a personalized treatment program for Jack.

Before the Storm

Chuck Jacobs has been Jack’s right hand man for three years. As driver/assistant and friend, he worked, lived, and traveled with Jack and the team. He just returned from a European tour with hemp oil innovator Rick Simpson, standing in for Jack. Jack depended on Chuck.

Joy Graves is Jack’s assistant and long time friend. Working shoulder to shoulder at the hemp festivals through the summer, she was a strong, trustworthy staple of the team.

In early summer, Jeannie and Jack went their separate ways. Not surprisingly, they are both overwrought with obligations and a packed schedule, and she hoped to inspire Jack to take it easy. She says she believed they would reunite at the end of the season. Jack had Jeannie’s name taken off his lease in July. By many accounts, they were separated.

From his house, Jack worked on his new book and prepped for the festivals. Eve Lentz was a writer-in-residence for some time, editing the long-awaited mushroom book, which is still a work in progress. Jack was continuously surrounded by friends, new and old, confidants and professional partners.

According to friends, he was outspoken, as usual, and made it known that he didn’t plan to leave his house to move with Jeannie, or accept the “take it easy” proposal. He left for the festivals in the NorthWest, an annual tradition for the Jack Herer team.

At noon on September 12th, 2009, the first day of the Portland HempStalk, Jack called a meeting with Chuck, Joy and a notary public. Jack had a Power of Attorney drawn up, and explained that, in addition to other issues, he had concerns about the publication of his upcoming book in case something should happen to him. It was a subject of some contention between he and Jeannie, as she’s recently noted there were some “problems with the book” that he had been working on for over a decade. Chuck and Joy signed the paperwork, and got back to work.

Little did they know, the documents would gain sudden importance, and become the fuel for an underlying flame, ready to ignite.

When Jeannie heard that Jack had been hospitalized in Portland, she flew in and assumed her position as caretaker and wife. And it’s been a tough road to haul. Since his heart attack, Jack has been moved 3 times, had one diabetic episode, and even suffered a fall out of bed.

There have been difficult challenges, difficult decisions, and more than not, long difficult days.

His drive to decriminalize marijuana and bring the value and benefits of the hemp plant into focus has never waned. The people that have joined him on this journey are not just a bunch of followers. They are leaders in their own right, speaking up and putting into action their belief in the future of legal cannabis use, and industrial hemp production in United States.

Chuck and Joy, along with many others, were integral in the successful organization, set up, break down, manning of the booths, travel to and fro, and overall care of Jack throughout the festival season.

Now, seven weeks later, they have taken the reigns of his care again.


Joy Graves was at his bedside last week when she discovered there was a DNR order in Jack’s chart. “Do Not Resuscitate”, the nurse explained, means that should Jack have a heart attack, he would not receive CPR, they would not make every effort to save him. They would let him die in peace. “Do Not Transport” was also checked, which means there would be no ambulance ride to the hospital.

The order was a surprise to Joy, and a shock after all the effort to save his life. She inquired as to how it came to be, and how it could be changed. Jeannie Herer had signed the order, so it was up to her to change it. Unsatisfied with that conclusion and in an attempt to ensure Jack’s ability to survive a future health emergency, she revealed that she held Jack’s Power of Attorney.

The care center took some time to deliberate the ramifications of the situation, bringing in their legal team, and determined that the document was legal and binding.

The DNR order was reversed.

“For a person that was extremely displeased that it took so long for CPR to begin at the time of his heart attack, it was baffling as to why Jeannie signed a DNR,” Joy Graves said.

“They wanted me to sign a DNR form,” Jeannie wrote in a MySpace bulletin. “The doctor explained that if he had another heart attack, he wouldn’t be able to survive it but if I didn’t sign the paper, they would still have to pound on his chest and possibly crack his chest and also shock him. He said that when people die a natural death, endorphins are released that make them more comfortable at the end but not when you do that. So I agreed.”

Sunday night, the DNR order reversal may well have saved Jack’s life.

Throughout the evening, Jack’s breathing became more and more distressed, and the rattle in his chest turned to a struggle for air. Medical attention clearly was in order. Because the DNR had been revoked, they were able to get Jack to the Emergency Room at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center where he was diagnosed with bronchitis.

He received x-rays, a breathing treatment, and a prescription for antibiotics. Without intervention, he would likely have developed pneumonia. He was back in his room and in good spirits Sunday evening, feeling much better.

The DNR would have made the ambulance ride to the ER impossible.

Jack’s Progress Report

Last week, I was told that Jack slept most of the time, day and night. Sometimes he grumbled in his sleep. He had barely spoken, and was so tense that physical therapy seemed a moot point.

Prior to the change of care, Jack was on daily narcotics including Percocet and Oxycodone (every four hours), which have since been nearly discontinued, and are relegated to specific pain relief when necessary. Saturday night, he didn’t need any drugs to sleep well through the night.

He is NOT being given any hemp oil. The care center, driven by federal guidelines, refuses to allow it.

The staff at the care center has been happily surprised at his improved response in all three therapies. So well in fact, that they are increasing it to five days a week.

According to Eve Lentz, he has been singing “You are my Sunshine”. “It is hard to hear him, his voice is very light and breathy, but he’s trying,” she said.

He has also said a few people’s names, and short sentences like “I love you”, “Oh boy”, “Oh man”, and “Where’s the baby?” referring to his godchild. Seems like rather slow progress, but then again, his mouth has really been hurting.

Jack has been recovering from oral thrush, a painful mouth infection that often affects those with a weakened immune system. This caused him to be unable to swallow easily, and it was necessary to limit his water intake, for risk of pneumonia.

Joy was corrected when she gave him water one day, and the next day another old friend was stopped from giving him a drink several times. After a brief argument, she was asked to leave by the care center, not due to an order by Joy, which has been inferred.

This week they will begin regular eating and drinking, and hopefully remove the feeding tube.

Jack has been surrounded by his loved ones. His children have been with him often, and Jeannie, now understood to be Jack’s estranged wife, has been allowed in to see him though her authority has been circumvented.

Because of the negative publicity, specifically via online networking sites, the facility has allegedly received threats since the change in his caregivers, and even has fielded calls from imposters of family members and others. This could have interrupted his care, requiring him to be moved yet another time. Fortunately for Jack, that is not the case.

One More Thing

Rumors abound, most have so little merit that it insults the intelligence of the reader to be bothered with them. However, one such claim regarding alleged drug use by Jack at the festivals requires attention.

No one would disagree that a man with his health history should not consider such things, but there is no evidence to back up the charge that has become nearly viral online. There was a drug screen soon after Jack was taken to the hospital initially, and we are told that it revealed THC and nothing else.

Where Does He Go From Here?

The frustration, fear and confusion felt by so many of Jack’s friends is not to be understated. This is a sensitive, emotional subject. Keeping the faith is something they take to heart, and love Jack they do. All the people involved seem to sincerely want what’s best for him, and with time will likely find level ground with one another.

But what’s really important here isn’t all of that, it’s JACK. He still has a long, climb ahead, and he’s showing real progress. He’s working hard.

Several groups and organizations including the THCF in Portland and Jim Matthieson of the Herbivores in Seattle have expressed their intentions to host benefits to help offset the costs of Jack’s care, which is mounting.

By all accounts, Jack loves his home in California where he has lived for several years. Should Jack continue improving at the rate he is, he will be home again, watching the sunset from his porch, pondering his next adventure, in good time. Whether or not he is able to resume his previous lifestyle completely, he well may return to it.

Though his home was nearly given up for lack of finances, some quick minded friends made sure that didn’t happen. Efforts have been successful in keeping Jack’s house, and it waits for his homecoming.

Be it known: The Hemperor Shall Return.

– Article from Salem-News.com on November 2, 2009.

The Story Continues…

by Jeremiah Vandermeer, Cannabis Culture

The above article, published by Salem-News.com’s Bonnie King, sparked a storm of controversy and claims by Jack’s wife Jeannie Herer that she and Jack had not gone “their separate ways”. The article also received angry comments from other members of Jack’s family.

Jeannie Herer has posted several updates about the situation from her perspective on Jack’s website.

Cannabis Culture has been in contact with both Joy Graves and Jeannie Herer and has learned that neither is currently being permitted to see Jack at the Avamere Riverpark care center, but Jack’s children have been visiting for the last week. Adult protective services is also involved in the issue.

According to Joy Graves, another ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order was recently put on Jack against her will and she is currently fighting to have it removed, but is being denied access by the care center until its legal team can figure things out.

Cannabis Culture is investigating the claims made by Graves, Jeannie Herer, and others involved in the story (and some of the wild rumors circulating on the Internet) and will soon publish an in-depth feature article with more details. Stay tuned.

We’re with you Jack!

In a related story, the Jack Herer initiative to legalize marijuana has received its official title and summary.



  1. Anonymous on

    I won’t believe either side without hearing something from Jack himself. You say he’s communicating. Ask to audio record his wishes as to who he wants in charge of taking care of him.

    The courts are favouring Jeannie, so your side must not have good evidence to present. The above recording, if in your favour, would ensure you win.

    My gut is saying to side with Jeannie on this, but of course that’s not based on enough knowledge to really know for sure.

    To both sides in this:
    Get an audio recording of Jack in the presence of witnesses to confirm his wishes. Whichever side is telling the truth will benefit from this.

  2. Eve Lentz on

    Jack wants a chance to continue his therapy with the people he has been communicating with, Joy and I. There are no “sides”. Just Jack’s wishes. Why is Jack communicating with Joy and I (we have proof) and Joy Graves lifted the DNR twice and did save his life.W Why is Jeannie and Chuck placing a DNR on him and asking for money to pay Jack’s hospital and care center bills, then using the money for other things? Why is Joy Graves paying said bills with her own money, and not asking for money or taking Jack’s money as her own per her Power of Attorney? It is because Joy Graves and I are proving that Jack is “in there” and Chuck and Jeannie are not. Who do you want to believe?

  3. Anonymous on

    What does JACK want?

    Both sides in this are claiming to be doing what Jack wants.

    Some truly unbiased source should get permission to visit Jack and find out what Jack wants. I hope he’s getting better enough to communicate his wishes. He shouldn’t have to deal with this fighting over him.

  4. Unbiased- following the story on

    The pics that Jeannie posted just shows how low she and her rag tag clan can go. They are likenesses put on the web for all to see, which is illegal w/o permission. When people promised Jack they would protect him from Jeannie and now THEY FEEL THEY HAVE FAILED JACK. Jack didn’t talk to most of them, including calling for Eve when she was touching him. because he doesn’t like half of them. One of her clan she always referred to as Eddy’s Whore(quote from another reliable source.) They were threatened by Ed Disney. He was intimadating to Seeva Cherms and gloating. After the Chuck’s recent DNR signed, they can try to silence him, but he is strong willed and I pray they are right and he’s in there many have heard him. Again trying Chuck is attempting to get in Jeannie’ good graces. Where’s his loyalty to Jack?Tim made no assault and only stood up for his wife. They turned it around, they have nothing better to do. How can anyone be happy about Jack not making progress which is the case when she is there. This is sad and I see Jack being very sad and lonely. I was there to witness the proceedings. 2 women against 10 people-
    It is ILLEGAL to take photographs in court. Judi Engle took photos of them. Shame on you. Thats why they the mans phone who lied about taping procedures and the bailiff caught him and confiscated his phone. . This will be turned into the court. Even Joys liscense plate is public. Seems so malicious. WHERE’S JACK’S BEST INTEREST???
    He is what counts! Long live the Emperor…Seems like still a witchhunt, They seem genunily only are doing what Jack made them promise.
    Peace, ~Unbiased

  5. Suman on

    Thanks Eve! i just finally got to reading this. and thank you so much for taking the time to try to separate truth from fact in this ever-widening, and twisting, turning river of the tragedy that followed the tragedy of Jack’s most recent heart-attack. The tragedy is that so many people started telling lies and manipulating media that reality got warped. And who gets caught in the crossfire? mostly Jack, who still is fighting to recover! not to mention those who have tried to actually take care of him since this happened (unfortunately yes, i had to come home to CA, after being stranded in OR unexpectedly from this).

    There is so much more to this story than meets the eye, and i am here to attest that Joy and Eve have done nothing but put Jack’s best interest forward, and that indeed, his wife was about to not be his wife anymore when all this happened, and while it may not be any of our “business”, it is when it comes to protecting the interests of Jack, whom we all love and admire. Certain of his family members do not see eye to eye on this, and haven’t for some time. Certain of his family are angels. and some do not know the whole truth and continue to be lied to, therefore spreading mistruths themselves.

    I witnessed what i witnessed, and i stand by my statements. It is a pity, as Eve mentioned, that Jack has not even been able to receive cards and well-wishes of friends due to his wife’s ill-conceived thoughts as to his condition and position. It is truly sad.

    And also sad for me because the last time i saw Jack after witnessing his heart-attack backstage at that Hempfest, i was being kicked out of the hospital room by his wife, while i silently prayed an ancient prayer for miracles, at his feet….I continue to hold strong in my prayers, despite all the drama that has unfolded, and so should all of us! Know the facts before you spread rumors, that’s all i can say!
    Suman Elizabeth Kirby

  6. Dan-o on

    Never met Jack Herer, but he is a hero in my eyes. All of this drama will work itself out when he is well. I am so glad that adult protective services has stepped in, a world without the “Emporer of Hemp” would be a sad sad world.Get well soon Mr. Herer!

  7. Eve Lentz on

    Without Joy Graves removing the DNR that Jeannie put on, Jack would not have received treatment two times in a local hospital, which saved his life, for sure, the second time. Jack would not be talking/singing right now, if Joy hadn’t increased his Physical,Occupational, and Speech therapies to 5 days a week after taking him off of the Vicodin and Oxycotin he was on and kept him very drugged out.
    I watched Jack working with Joy at two hempfest’s this summer (Seattle Hempfest and Olympia Hempfest), and he dearly loves her as a daughter/friend. I, also, watched him lovingly look at her at the Care Center and both Hospital visits in Eugene, OR. I heard him ask her on my cellphone “Help Me, Please?”
    Joy has known Jack for many years, and has worked with Jack at many events. She has NEVER been paid for her hard work and many backrubs to Jack which helps him stay limber while bending over to sign his books for fans. (Anyone who knows Jack, has seen him getting backrubs from numerous friends for this purpose, for many years. Many years, he has brought friends with their massage tables for this purpose. This year, Jack and Chuck brought Suman Elizabeth Kerby with her table to the Portland Hempstalk. The day after his heart attack, Jeannie fired Chuck, demanded the van back that Jack, Chuck and Suman drove to the Portland Hempstalk in,leaving them no way home. We transferred all of Chuck and Suman’s stuff into my car until Mark Herer rented them a van to drive home.) Note: Chuck, Joy and Suman all worked Portland Hempfest Sunday before giving Jeannie the days’ proceeds in Jack’s booth and the van to Jeannie the next morning. I was there!
    Back to Joy Graves! Joy brought me in to care for Jack at Avamere Riverpark of Eugene, the week of my Birthday (Oct. 30th, Halloween Eve). I read to him, sang to him, talked to him and brought lots of pictures to brighten up his room. I brought him a light saber of my Grandson’s, which he learned to push the button on and off, on command. I was with him at all of his therapies, encouraging him as he stacked cones, sang the “ABC” song along with us, and while Adult Protective Services came in to check on Jack, he sang along with me to “You Are My Sunshine”! Jack yelled my name “EVE” so loudly while Jeannie was rubbing his arm, that a Nurse ran into the room and said “That’s it! I heard that!” (everything is in the “Chart Notes”) and asked Jeannie and I to leave the room so she could check Jack out. It took me over an hour to get Jack to stop shaking after Jeannie left. Soon after, many other nurses and patients told me that they had just heard that Jack yelled my name and they were so excited that Jeannie had heard him speak at all, as they had read on Jack’s myspace that Jeannie said that he wasn’t talking or communicating. If it wasn’t for Joy Graves, he would not be talking and he might not be alive.
    I have spent much time with Joy, only meeting her at the Seattle Hempfest this year. She has only shown love and hope to Jack, and he did sign the Power of Attorney to Joy and Chuck (which has been and still is complete and legal) and the Medical Directive (which WAS not complete until Chuck signed it before he left for the European trip with Rick Simpson. It was submitted to the first hospital, with only Joy’s signature, therefore it was not complete.
    If you were Jack and you signed a Power of Attorney and a medical directive to two people you trust, would you want them to give up? Would you want your estranged wife ( I lived with Jack in August while editing “The Most High” and Jeannie was not living with him. Jack was NOT living with her and he told me she left him in early July, was divorcing him and he was never moving to her home, period! There is a letter from Jack to the Property Manager (in his file) that “My wife has left me and I am living alone. I have a full-time caretaker living with me.”) to fight the people who were trying to do your will? I am Jack. You are Jack! We are Jack! Joy Graves has been the only person that I know, that has been doing Jack’s will. She is protecting his book and she has been doing everything in her power to make sure that Jack gets the optimum of care, love, and help to come back to us. She is doing this LEGALLY. She has been telling the truth! Anyone that is counting Jack out, after all he has been through, is seriously not on his side. Why hasn’t his wife or family brought him the “Get Well” cards that are being sent through them to him. They really would brighten up his dull, white room, and definately brighten up his outlook on life, which those who truly love him have been doing! Thanks to Bonnie and Tim King, Marc and Jodie Emery, and to Jeremiah for their truthful and important journalism. It may well save Jack!

  8. SF on

    I’ve know Jack for 25 or more years. We lived in the valley together.
    I NEVER have heard of Joy Graves and the fact that the POA was not completely filled out and was apparently signed 2 hours prior to Jack’s heart attack leaves it highly suspect in my mind.

    I just wish Jeannie could see Jack.

    Glad Adult Services are involved and really glad Joy Graves can’t see him.

    Get well Jack~