Green Market Report caught up with Shavo Odadjian, bassist of multi-platinum selling band System of a Down and now controller and chief marketing officer of his own lifestyle brand, 22Red.
22Red started out as a lifestyle brand focused on fashion and music, with apparel and other merchandise catered toward skaters and creatives that share Odadjian’s passion for the arts, he said.
Now, Odadjian handpicks his favorite strains alongside master cultivator and co-founding partner Sean Oganesyan, the mastermind behind Surreal Yields, which has played a major role in powerhouses such as Cookies and Stiiizy.
22Red currently has lines of premium flower, concentrates and pre-rolls available in Stiiizy stores across three states – Arizona, California and Nevada.
“I’m the face of the brand, though I don’t try to use ‘Shavo’ as the selling point. I’m not really interested in my fans buying our weed or our merch because it’s me. I want them to buy it because they love it, because they trust the product, you know what I mean?” Odadjian said.
Odadjian said he tries to connect with consumers and collaborators at a grassroots level, whether it’s pairing up with local artists and entrepreneurs or featuring them on his social media accounts.
“We curate to the artists. I really think that cannabis and art and creativity have a common bond,” he said.
He added that the 22Red team in Arizona consists of “a bunch of skateboarders – which is so cool.”
Odadjian noted, “I think the skateboard culture also is very connected to cannabis. And we’ll be doing the same thing in Nevada and California. I’m connected to some of the great skate shops here in Cali, and we’re gonna move (the brand) into those. So that’s the that’s where I’m headed, bro.”
But the LA native believes that California is “a mess right now when it comes to taxing and the way the government is doing that … that’s why the market’s so terrible.”
He pointed to issues such as the dramatic drop in the price for a pound of flower, as the state market continues to reel from financial headwinds brought by a thriving illicit market, red tape, and high taxes for operators across all levels of government.
“It’s ridiculous,” he added. “The ones that thought this was a get rich quick scheme are the ones falling apart. And the brands that take time and invest in quality – and knew this was the thing to come – are lasting.”
Odadjian views Biden’s historic announcement last week to pardon people convicted of federal possession charges as performative, pointing to the fact that none of the 6,500 affected remain in prison.
“But he made people that don’t know this think that there are, and that he’s going to free them now,” he said. “So why not get some votes out of it? It’s like giving you a present that looks beautifully wrapped, but there’s nothing inside the box, you know I’m saying? That’s pretty much what they’re doing.”