Al Harrington is a man on a mission to create 100 millionaires in the legal cannabis industry.
The owner of Viola has led the meager 2 percent of ownership by people of color in the legal cannabis space, and he is doing his part to level the playing field. Black people are still disproportionately arrested and jailed for cannabis-related crimes.
“That is an issue,” Harrington said to Forbes. “How can [the policing of] this drug have done so much harm in our communities,” he asks, “and now is a multibillion-dollar industry and not only are we not in position to participate, but we’re still locked up because of it?”
Harrington has assembled an investment group that includes current and former NBA players like J.R. Smith, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben Gordon, Josh Childress and Kenyon Martin. He also partnered with NBA legend Allen Iverson and launched a strain for him under Viola.
In 2011, Harrington launched a business that produces cannabis extracts. The company Viola Extracts has become one of the nation’s leading producers and licensed wholesalers of premium quality cannabis products.
Viola began operations in Denver, Colorado, in 2012, and now operates in Colorado, Oregon, Michigan and California, and has grown to become a respected, top-selling national brand in the cannabis industry.
“Over the last five years, Viola has been dedicated to creating and producing quality herbal experiences for our customers,” said Harrington via a statement in 2020.
According to reports, Viola launched an incubator program two years ago, investing close to $700,000 into four companies. With a strategy of buying into already functioning companies and staying away from unproven concepts, Harrington usually negotiates between a reported 10 percent to 25 percent stake in exchange for help with marketing and fundraising.
To read more about former NBA player Al Harrington’s marijuana empire and how he’s spreading financial health through the power of the plant, click here.