System of a Down Bassist's Cannabis Brand Launches in Arizona

Shavo Odadjian, bassist for System of a Down, is coming to town this weekend to meet medical marijuana patients and launch his cannabis brand.
Shavo Odadjian, bassist for System of a Down, is coming to town this weekend to meet medical marijuana patients and launch his cannabis brand.
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System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian is bringing his synesthesia-inspired 22Red cannabis company to Arizona with a statewide launch in dispensaries this weekend.

The latest in celebrity weed brands to arrive in Arizona will be on sale at several dispensaries starting on Saturday, February 22.

Odadjian will be on hand to greet patients and help do the kickoff on Saturday at Curaleaf's midtown location, and SWC in Tempe. (See below for details).

For now, dispensary offerings by 22Red will be limited to eighths of select flower and prerolled joints.

To hear Odadjian tell it, this isn't average weed.

"My whole purpose in doing this is giving people what I smoke, because I smoke the best," Odadjian told Phoenix New Times for an October 2018 article after the brand first went online in California dispensaries. He said at the time that he'd partnered with one of Los Angeles' best cultivators to produce the new line. The company is also heavy into side-merchandising, with branded hoodies, T-shirts, sunglasses, hemp oil vapes, and other items.

It's a music label as well. Odadjian plans to release tunes "soon" from his newest musical venture, North Kingsley. That's potentially a good thing for SOAD lovers, who have been deprived of any new songs or albums since 2005.

The name of the company is a personal homage to Odadjian's favorite number, which shows up on his birthday, wedding date, and other areas of his life. He also associates the number two with the color red, for some reason. Hey, the guy's an artist. No sense asking too many questions.

Odadjian is melding "all of the things he's been very passionate about" into 22Red, said Kelly Sarratt, director of marketing for Curaleaf.

The company started in Los Angeles and has been exclusive to California connoisseurs, but it recently partnered with Nevada's largest cultivator, Flower One. A somewhat campy report on "star strains" in a September 2019 edition of Variety magazine seemed to give a 22Red preroll a positive review.

So, patients, are you excited to try 22Red, the latest in celebrity weed brands to arrive in Arizona? Or do you think marijuana marketing jumped the shark with "Chong's Choice" vape pens?

Toting cannabis products across state lines is still verboten, and for now, it's unknown just where 22Red is being grown in Arizona. Curaleaf and SWC reps say they're not yet cultivating the brand.

John Labate, an Arizona consultant for 22Red (and, full disclosure, a former New Times advertising rep), said the company has its preferred growers for the time being.

22Red needs "the freedom and discretion to bring the very best of AZ to the patients," Labate said. "It will be a curated collection of the very best, with our genetics being introduced in time, and grown in the most appropriate environment."

22Red vape cartridges will follow at some point, "provided quality can be assured," he said, adding that the hope is for a vape launch prior to 4/20.

If you go:

Medical marijuana patients can see the musician and cannabiz entrepreneur from noon to 2 p.m. at Curaleaf AZ Midtown and 4 to 6 p.m. at SWC in Tempe on Saturday. If you want to meet Odadjian and have him sign a poster, you have to purchase one or more 22Red products, reps for the two dispensaries said.

As the song says, "Everybody's going to the party, have a real good time."

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