At age 41, Al Harrington stands out as a cannabis businessman. The basketball star is fully aware of the persisting racist stigma on black cannabis growers, no matter whether they grow for medical or recreational purposes. This may be the reason behind his new commitment to lead his brand towards social equity. Developing initiatives such as Viola Cares, Viola is a company that creates job opportunities for black communities in the cannabis industry. Education, expungement, and incubation programs are just some of Harrington’s initiatives.
In a moving interview with Uninterrupted—a media company owned by Lebron James, the famous Angeles Lakers player—Harrington said that his first time with cannabis happened when he played for the Denver Nuggets after a failed knee surgery. A staph infection that resulted in four additional surgeries caused Harrington to use more and more medicines. Switching to cannabis helped the athlete, easing pain right there. Now Harrington acknowledges that plenty of athletes use medication and cannabis, although this is not completely in the open yet.
Viola—A Rising Company
Viola is a company named after Harrington’s grandmother Viola Harrington. Nowadays, it is widely known for its high-quality products sold in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. Al Harrington became involved as an investor in Colorado in 2011 and at an Oregon farm. Accumulating over three million dollars in capital by October 2017 and a 15,000 m2 building, Viola’s expansion is taking giant leaps, now working in partnership with Avicanna, a biopharma company specialised in cannabinoids that holds a licence to use the NBA star’s brand since March.
Driven by his personal and family experience with this plant, the ex-player has decided to invest in the cannabis business. His grandmother Viola suffers from glaucoma and diabetes. Al remembers that, despite her pain, his grandmother was always there rooting for him from the bleachers. Knowing about the medical properties of cannabis, he offered this drug to her, who rejected it on the spot. However, his tenacity ended up removing years of stigma and stopping pain as this drug led to a sharp improvement.
Today, the ex-player does not regret retiring and states that cannabis has given him the chance to help others and spend time with his family. His company aims at high-quality, pure products to become the first multinational African American cannabis brand.