Last month saw the sad loss of Frenchy Cannoli, a pioneer of the hemp industry and a wonderfully creative and innovative character. Frenchy died unexpectedly at the age of 64 due to complications with surgery. And with obituaries appearing in such esteemed publications as The New York Times and The Economist, it’s clear that Frenchy wasn’t just a hero to his fellow hemp growers and producers like us – he was a truly noteworthy figure who really captured the public’s imagination. In this blog, we pay homage to Frenchy Cannoli and take a look at how he helped to shape what we do today.
A connoisseur’s approach to hemp
Regular readers of our blog will know that we often compare the hemp that we grow in California to the world’s fine wines. This is because the climate in this part of America is particularly well suited to growing high-quality hemp. The wine-hemp analogy isn’t just an easy way to understand hemp quality, though. It’s actually the product of Frenchy Cannoli’s long-term vision for the hemp industry.
Growing up in the South of France, Frenchy knew wine culture well and had an understanding of just how revered a simple bottle of wine could be. His idea was that hemp could be perceived in exactly the same light. In other words, hemp could become a product that lent itself perfectly to connoisseurs and those who appreciate the finer things in life.
One of the most important aspects of wine culture is, of course, terroir – how the soil and the climate of a region affect the grape and therefore the ultimate taste and quality of the wine that gets poured into the glass. Hemp, so Frenchy thought, could be exactly the same if people opened their minds to this equally historic product. He wanted everyone to understand that, just like grape varieties, different strains of hemp could have different bouquets and different intensities. Frenchy knew that California was a world-leading region for hemp, and it’s his understanding and confidence that paved the way for growers like us to prosper today.
Legal restrictions on the hemp industry
Of course, one of the major challenges facing Frenchy’s great vision throughout the decades was the legal status of hemp here in the USA. Since hemp became legal for recreational use in California in 2016, the general perception of this natural substance has changed enormously. Sadly, though, for most of his life, Frenchy was battling against restrictive laws and attitudes that made his fine wine approach to hemp a very hard sell indeed.
As a European with a love of American hemp, Frenchy was, and will remain, an inspiration to us at California Grown Hemp. As we forge links with the hemp market in Switzerland, selling our 100% natural product to the discerning Swiss, we can keep Frenchy in mind – an international figure who always put quality and culture at the forefront of his approach to hemp.
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