For Los Angeles chef Matt Stockard, fighting against the perception of cannabis food as a means of getting intoxicated, rather than a means of getting well, is a constant battle. Dispelling that stigma is part of what inspired him to develop medicated items like salt, pepper, milk, and cream. “In the black community you’re considered uneducated if you deal with cannabis,” he says. “And until the stigma is brought off of it, you’re going to have a lot of people who are just going to continue [to have that stigma] because of smokers.” He hopes that the brand of cannabis cooking oils he is developing — a legal cannabis product under California’s strict edibles regulations — can help legitimize medicated cooking for the masses.
Black chefs cooking with cannabis, then, are more than just vanguards: Their work represents a reclaimed self-determinism of medicinal cooking.