Legal marijuana is currently a $40 billion industry. It’s growing rapidly as more and more states across the country opt for cannabis legalization. It’s now legal medically in 33 states and recreationally in 10. Former Indiana Pacers 1st round draft pick Al Harrington is quickly becoming a major player in the industry with his cannabis company Viola.
Black and brown people have historically been prosecuted harsher and at a disproportional rate for marijuana use than other demographics. That’s why it’s important that minorities are able to stake a claim in the industry now that it’s “mainstream.”
Harrington initially invested $5 million in a cannabis company in 2011 while still a member of the Denver Nuggets. It was legal recreationlly in the state of Colorado, but he reportedly put it in his cousin’s name as to not run afoul of the NBA. The investment paid off handsomely. The company is now valued at $100 million, according to The Indianapolis Star.
The company now has over 70 employees spanning across California, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan. The 39 year old Harrington says his goal is to reach a $1 Billion valuation for the company.
Viola is named after Harrington’s grandmother. She visited him in Denver shortly after he started the company. She was in frequent pain, and was taking a multitude of medications for diabetes and glaucoma at the time. The CBD oil he gave her worked better than any of her prescribed medication, which gave him confirmation that he was going in the right direction.
Harrington took a leap of faith into the cannabis industry before it was the trendy thing to do. He’s proof that stepping outside of your comfort zone leads to the biggest rewards. It’s the only way real progress can be made.