Chef Enid Parham shines a light on cannabis cooking and social equity

Recently named Michigan Edibles' best cannabis chef, Enid Parham (also known as Chef Sunflower) is famous for her tasty food. Whether making food that is cannabis-infused or not, she is a whiz in the kitchen. 

Enid ParhamParham runs Lucky Pistil, a catering company that specializes in cannabis-infused food and is a popular choice for metro area elite who are looking for a private party where their guests can get a "little lift". 

“The first thing I like to know is what they get from it,” Parham says of her cannabis cooking. “I want these guests to feel something different. Some people just want to have a happy high where they can dance around. And some people, it might be an event where they don't want to feel locked into a couch. Or they might want to, like, have a combination.”

“Once I know what kind of high they want to have, then I know what I want to get," she says. "And then I go searching at the different farms or different dispensaries for what's available.” 

Parham sources at farms that grow cannabis organically. To her, that’s important to the quality because, like any herb, she says it can be tainted and changed with chemical intervention. She also sources at dispensaries that have to regularly test their products. 

While she loves to cook all kinds of food, she said that her Bolognese sauce is her favorite. “I love using the flower,” she says of cannabis — refering to the actual bud, rather than tinctures or other derivatives. “Sometimes with tinctures, just like anything, when you start breaking it down to its chemical form, things will change, like some of the terpene effects and stuff like that.”

“So, I like using natural power because, to me, I'm looking at cannabis just like another herb like rosemary or basil or something like that.” 

Parham is more than a cannabis chef, she is an advocate for the plant, for sustainable farming, and for cannabis criminal justice reform. 

According to Last Prisoner Project, 15.7 million people were arrested for marijuana offenses in the last two decades, while the legal marijuana industry sales for 2018 in the US hit $10.4 billion.

Thirty-five musicians and athletes, along with elected officials and advocates, have signed a petition letter urging President Biden “to grant a full, complete and unconditional pardon to all persons subject to federal criminal or civil enforcement on the basis of non-violent marijuana offenses."

The letter adds that the "harms of incarceration are obvious, but the pains of federal marijuana convictions transcend prison walls, making it more difficult for someone to get a job, access affordable housing, and receive an education [...] A conviction can forever limit an individual’s constitutional rights and can put the American dream further out of reach for an entire family. Enough is enough. No one should be locked up in federal prison for marijuana. No one should continue to bear the scarlet letter of a federal conviction for marijuana offenses."

Parham adds her frustration that the federal government has "left the decision of legalizing cannabis to the states, but it’s already being traded on the stock market and banking systems are being established."

"So, corporations are making money from it, but average people can still be locked up and the federal government can make money off people being incarcerated for it,” she says. 

"People need to be released and there needs to be some type of reparations system. I remember seeing families torn apart, people locked up, kids being taken because of the criminalization of cannabis, and now major corporations and governments are set to make millions. There has to be social equity in the cannabis industry. Has to.” 

Parham is next set to cater The Art of Sharing by Common Citizen. Hosted by Detroit vocalist Monica Blaire, the private event will celebrate community, connection, and cannabis at an outdoor and socially-distanced event. 
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Biba Adams is a regular contributor and project editor for Model D. Formally Model D's Editor at Large, she is a longtime journalist whose work is fueled by her passion for people and her native Detroit. Find her on all social channels @BibatheDiva.