I grew up wanting to get high with Jack!
His book and research really lit a fire under me when I was younger. I never thought I would get the chance to not only get high with him, but name a strain after him, smoke it with him and get a picture of the two of us published, but it happened! I wasn’t some great friend of the man’s, but I did hang with him on several occasions and I cherish those moments. Not everyone gets to be that close to their inspiration.
This story, however, is not about Jack the man but the plant itself and my observations on growing it. I grew it before about 9 years ago from seed. I was able to find one really nice female out of the ten seeds I grew out, and I grew it for many cycles before I replaced it with something better. Over the years I have smoked lots of different samples of Jack Herer, including one really nice bud I bought from the Green House Coffeeshop during my first trip to Amsterdam in 1996. Many growers hold a coveted Herer cutting so I have seen many of the different variations of the strain from seed. The one I am most familiar with was fruity and hazy with a nice yield and strong stone, combined with that signature Jack Herer head high. I have also smoked a haze-dominant cut that a good friend grew out for a few years in the late 90’s.
After Jack passed away last year he was on everyone’s minds, so I made a trip to his famous shop in Portland called “The Third Eye.” I love their glass selection, plus a few of the people working there hold cards and grow TGA gear. I went upstairs after signing a few books downstairs and a dude I had never met before followed me up; I kind figured it was Mark Herer, Jacks son. He confirmed it by introducing himself and then asked if I could get him a pack of his dad’s seeds. I told him that anyone could order a pack online but I also explained about growing from seed and selection and suggested he instead look for a nice cutting. He kind of gave me a confused look and I explained that I would get him a cutting and and he smiled and said thanks. Now I took this pretty much like Jack asking me himself, so I went directly to work looking for the best possible cutting to fill this request.
Dioxide has a good friend, an amazing grower who I respect very much, who offered up a cutting of his prized Jack Herer. It was selected from Sensi Seeds but from years ago when in my opinion it was easier to find these prize phenotypes in higher numbers. The Jack Herer cutting was passed from legal grower to legal grower until it made its way to me and then to Mark. This is the report on that grow from my perspective. I’d like to thank that talented grower for selflessly sharing one of his prize cuttings.
The cutting came to me healthy and looking great, but I still dipped the clone in Mitecide, and treated it for mildew using a fungastat.
I sent one to Mark Herer and I kept the other, growing it out as I would any cutting from this point on. I did not document the growth each week as I normally do, waiting instead until I saw and smelled something promising. The plant shot up fast once flowering started and at first it looked kind of tall and thin. As time passed though, the buds started swelling, the resin started flowing and one day while watering the garden I brushed up against the plant and got a huge whiff of lemons and wintergreen. It was very pungent and immediately got my attention.
At 5 feet tall with 6 heads it wasn’t easy to move around, so I had to wait until the plant was almost done before dragging out of the CO2-enriched bud room into the finishing area. It was only then I began to see how special this cutting was. Stacked resin head and a strong lemon and mint smell make for a notable aroma similar to my Jacks Cleaner but sweeter, with mint and wintergreen replacing the Cleaner’s sandlewood overtones.
Just after a photo shoot of the almost mature colas, I was invited out to the medical farm where the cutting came from. I got to tour an amazing garden that provides meds for several people and their very lucky patients; I can tell you, this cat is a very skilled grower. He had 10 main plants rooted directly in the ground, with a bunch of Jack Herers filling in the empty spaces. I thought it was a smart use of garden space, but I saw that soon airflow would be a problem. He was way ahead of me, of coursez: he was already preparing a second tunnel for the Jacks. It was really cool to see the cutting under full sun after growing it out indoors.
I harvested my Jack Herer plant at around day 58, just before peak ripeness. I find that I prefer my tricomb heads to be about 10-15% amber for maximum taste and flavor, as well as an upbeat high. I use cannabis mainly for pain management due to a severe injury (I fell off a ladder at work doing a job alone that actually requires 2-3 men). I am also am very busy and can’t afford to be taking pot naps in the middle of the day, so I prefer potent but upbeat medical marijuana. This Jack cutting certainly meets that criteria!
After trimming and drying the flowers I let them cure in glass jars for about 3 weeks before sampling the finished buds. My patience was rewarded with some exceptional quality medicine. Having a tart lemon taste combined with a mint aftertaste, both the inhale and exhale is very pleasing and leaves a great taste on your palate.
As time kept ticking and the jars of Jack continued to cure, I really begin to enjoy the strain more and more. If I needed a daytime pick-me-up I would take just 2 tokes out of my bong and suddenly the world seemed delightful. Music sounded better and even simple tasks like playing with my new lab puppy took on an extra level of enjoyment. I read once that the strain Jack Herer made everything seem delightful and I could not agree more.
The grower decided to have the strain tested for potency at Steep Hill labs and we were impressed at how potent it was, testing at 13.87% THC and .22% CBD and .89% CBN. But what the report doesn’t tell us is the complex makeup of all the other chemicals that make each strain unique. This particular cutting really is a special specimen.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 90