Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis aims to properly honor both the rapper and the legendary label. Head of Operations AK explains how.
When you think about cannabis, Snoop Dogg is probably one of the first names that pops into your head. Quite possibly the single most famous rapper on Earth, Snoop Dogg has long been a cannabis enthusiast and advocate for the legalization and normalization of the plant. It has always made sense for the Doggfather to have a top-tier weed company, but up until this point, he has not been properly represented in brand or quality of product.
Death Row Cannabis is here to change that.
What is Death Row Cannabis?
In 1991, The D.O.C., Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, and Dick Griffey founded the record label Death Row Records. The label is well-known for finding and building some of hip-hop’s most influential acts, including 2pac, Kurupt, Dr. Dre, and of course, Snoop Doggy Dogg. It is one of the most important record labels ever, especially when it comes to the West Coast, where Death Row reigned supreme.
Over time, the famous record label would see decline, bankruptcy, and changes in ownership. In February 2022, Snoop Dogg purchased the record label from MNRK Music Group, hoping to restore it to its once top spot in music.
Now in 2023, that record label has also inspired Snoop’s newest cannabis venture: Death Row Cannabis. Right now, you can only find Death Row Cannabis in California. At $30-$40 per 8th, they have released four different strains: Trop Cherry, Runtz, SFV OG, and Strawberry Gary.
Recently, Boardroom discussed Death Row Cannabis, its products, and its mission with the brand’s Head of Operations, AK.
Who is AK?
AK (we won’t expose his government name) is a legacy grower that has operated in California’s cannabis market since 2017. Long before, he got his start in legal cannabis in Seattle, Washington, with his companies Bonsai Cannabis, Mantis Extracts, and Errl’s. With his expertise, AK was able to move to California, where he helped friends transition from medical cannabis into the legal adult-use cannabis world after Prop 64’s passing in November 2016.
AK has accomplished a lot in his Cali time, namely helping create the famous Rainbow Sherbert (Pink Guava x OZK) line that has become popular along the West Coast. In 2018, alongside Scotty from Wizard Trees and DEO Farms, AK helped found the RS#3, RS#11, and RS#54 cultivars.
Additionally, AK founded the brand SMKRS in 2019, known best for their Shirazi strain.
“Shiraz is the city my family is from in Iran,” AK said. “A “Shirazi” is like saying Seattleite. I named it Shirazi as a thank you to my family for going through what they went through to give us a chance to really live life in the US. To bring it full circle the bag is designed based on a famous spot in the city of Shiraz too.”
In 2021, AK became the Vice President of Cultivation for TRP, which has cultivation operations in Florida and also owns Cookies retail stores nationwide. So when it comes to being hand-selected by Snoop to run Death Row Cannabis, it’s easy to see that AK is more than qualified for the job.
“I’m an old school legacy grower,” he said. “I’ve been in the game a long time. I do it for the plant, I don’t do it for the money. I’m super thankful for [cannabis], it’s gotten me everywhere I’ve been in life.”
A Conversation with Death Row Cannabis’s AK
Dante Jordan: How’d this opportunity with Death Row Cannabis come about for you?
AK: Death Row Cannabis came about through one of my close friends, Ed. He’s [worked on] Snoops Premium Nutrients with [Snoop Dogg] for a long time. He introduced me to Shaggy, who I work with hand-in-hand on Death Row Cannabis. We [tried working together] once, but it didn’t work out. A year and half later Shaggy came back and said let’s do something. He came up with the idea of let’s push on Death Row. He wants to revitalize it.
Our whole thing right now is trying to unfuck the celebrity brand situation. If any [celebrity] should be putting out weed that’s actually dank, it’s Snoop Dogg. We’re trying to come correct on his behalf, and Death Row’s behalf, and really the whole West Coast’s behalf.
DJ: What is the significance of growing Death Row’s Cannabis?
AK: That’s that cut of the SFV that they’ve always been smoking on. That and the G-cut of the Skywalker that we’ve got coming out. It’s the [OG Kush] from Florida, the original weed they were rapping about. We’re not coming out phony.
DJ: What is Shaggy’s role versus yours? And Tiffany Chen?
AK: Shag’s role is more [quality assurance] and [quality control]. Tiffany is a boss, man. When they’re doing other deals, Shag is the one that’s going to pull up to your garden, check the weed out, and make sure it’s legit. Tiffany is the one that takes things to [Snoop Dogg] on the business side, I guess is a simple way to put it. She tells Dogg if it’s a good business deal or not.
DJ: Who grows the Death Row Cannabis in California right now?
AK: Most of the weed that came from this first drop are from the guys at Cali Supply Co. in Chatsworth. The only one we didn’t grab from them was the Trop Cherry, that came from one of the close homies.
DJ: How many states are y’all eyeing right now?
AK: We’re Cali-focused. I want to really make sure that we’re established, and get rocking and rolling in Death Row’s home state. Beyond that, I’m really eyeing the whole world, not just the country. I feel like Death Row was a worldwide movement and we’re trying to do the same thing.
DJ: What would you say will be the difference between Death Row Cannabis and Snoop’s previous ventures?
AK: I think the key difference is they’ve got a real weed dude running it. They’ve got a legacy guy that isn’t in it for the money. If you’ve been doing this as long as I have, and you’re still rocking it, it’s not because of the money.
DJ: How will Snoop be involved in the marketing of the brand?
AK: Dogg was real clear with us. If Snoop sprinkles some Snoop on it, that shit turns into wildfire. He straight up told us “I want y’all to stand on your own two feet, show me you can put out fire, show me that people fuck with it, and I’ll come behind you and dump the gas on it.” We’re waiting on the reaction of it, so far it’s been nothing but positive.
DJ: What products are on the market right now?
AK: Right now, it’s just the flower. February, we’re rolling out prerolls, infused and non-infused. In R&D right now, we’re working on vapes, a couple of different hash products, and some edibles. In the next 2 or 3 months, you’ll be seeing some of that stuff.
DJ: How much are the 8ths priced at right now?
AK: Right now, the 8ths are priced at $30 and $40 per bag.
DJ: How did you select the first strains to toss out there?
AK: The SFV was an easy one. With Snoop, Death Row, [OG Kush] is just one of those things that’s obligatory. The rest of them, Shag and I just ran through a bunch of stuff that Cali Supply Co. gets regularly, and basically burned through it until we found the ones that we found legit.
DJ: What feedback have you received thus far?
AK: So far, everyone’s been hype. No one’s hit us up with negative comments, which I honestly expected. We’re pretty excited. Pricing it correctly goes to show that this is about the smoking and weed culture. It’s about the plant, it’s not just a money grab.
DJ: What is your vision for the future of Death Row Cannabis? In terms of impact on the culture and the industry?
AK: As far as the culture goes, I think we’re going to finally come out and do right by Snoop’s name. He’s a living legend. We’re going to bring that level of weed love and make it a thing. We’re working with a few people right now, trying to get dialed in on donating a percentage of our profit to one of these freedom situations for cannabis prisoners. The legacy is about it being about the West Coast, and showing that we actually give a fuck about those people locked in a cage over some bullshit, and use Dogg’s voice to do it. Industry-wise, making sure that there’s actually dank in those bags, being real to the plant, and being true to what has made me do this for 20-something years.
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