Tragedy hit the cannabis industry this week following news that famed hashmaker Frenchy Cannolli had died at the age of 64.
In a post to Frenchy’s official Instagram, his wife, Kimberly (aka Madame Cannoli), shared word that her husband had passed away following complications from surgery on Sunday, July 18.
“His passing was unexpected,” wrote Kimberly in part, “and leaves his family with a gaping hole of emotion where his smile and energy usually filled us so completely. I think what we all appreciated about Frenchy so much was his authenticity and passion.”
Indeed, with a name like Frenchy Cannoli, authenticity was all but a given. Known for making hash unlike anything else you could find, that uniqueness was also a core characteristic of the man himself.
His origin – a story he enjoyed sharing with the press – involved the hashmaker essentially traveling the planet for twenty years, learning from the best hashish makers on the globe. Raised in France, Cannolli opted for a nomadic lifestyle from a young age, inspired both by his hash obsession and a more general lust for adventure.
The payoff of learning from masters of the craft in locales as varied as Mexico, Pakistan, India, and Morocco came when Cannolli decided to settle his family in California. With the added safety of living in a land with legal cannabis, his dreams of producing world-class cannabis concentrates started turning to reality. Working alongside some of the Emerald Triangle’s most admired cultivators, the legend of Frenchy Cannolli’s pressed temple balls quickly made him a star of his field.
Beyond the business opportunities, Cannolli also dedicated his life to spreading the lost art of hashmaking. It is no exaggeration to say that his efforts and advocacy, which included participating in a documentary on the subject, played a substantial role in ensure that respect and knowledge about traditional hashmaking and the pressed temple ball process continues to this day.
In an obituary of Cannolli published to High Times, author Benjamin M. Adams further detailed the impact the legendary hashmaker made on the cannabis world – especially when it comes to respecting and celebrating the techniques he mastered and innovated.
“Cannolli’s ‘Lost Art of the Hashishin’ seminars provided hands-on training for aspiring hashmakers and the artist posted his same techniques on YouTube, eventually gaining 174,000+ Instagram followers,” Adams noted. “Cannoli [also] continued to promote post-legalization public education, developing hashish grading standards and supporting regional growing certifications for cannabis production.”
Indeed, much as Cannolli started his illustrious career as a student, numerous disciples have since come to learn from Cannolli himself. Following news of his death, many of them took to social media to voice both their sorrow and gratitude.
On Instagram, Oakland’s Dank Duchess called Cannolli “my mentor and my friend.”
“I make hash with passion because, as his first student,” she continued, “I received all the love of resin that he poured into me. He was never stingy with words of support or criticism. He wanted me to be better. He wanted hash to be better. I will miss him.”
Another Instagram post from Forever Flowering Greenhouses said in part that “[there] will forever be a space unfilled by the presence of this man and the love he brought to the world of hashishins. There’s a line waiting up above to hit your hookah.”
One of Cannolli’s lasting legacies will also undoubtedly be his efforts to ensure modern concentrate makers don’t lose respect for the ancient lineage of hashmaking that defined so much of Cannolli’s own life.
Speaking with MG Retailer for a cover story in 2017, Cannolli shared why contemporary hashmaking was such a far-cry from the artform he’d spent his life understanding.
“When you reject tradition without checking the science behind it and put new tech on the market without checking the science behind it, it doesn’t fly,” he noted. “That’s not progressing. It’s going backward.”
In the wake of Cannolli’s passing, let us use these words as fodder to fulfill his dreams of hash made right and enjoyed by all. The man himself may be gone, but the countless lives he touched, the hashmakers he mentored, and the legacy he’s left behind will be that of a man who truly believed in his craft and wanted to share it with all he could.