Billion dollar exit plan: Al Harrington’s Viola brands


Everyone blazes their own path and experiences different trials and tribulations along their journey. Some decide to play it safe and live according to the status quo. Others buck the trend and receive incredible results by doing so. Regardless, any situation cannot be entirely conquered without hard work. Clearly, Al Harrington understands this concept and has become a lucrative business owner.

Harrington contributed his talents to different NBA teams during his 16-year career. As a pivotal role player, he provided his most significant minutes during what many call the, “Post-Jordan” era. During this time, the NBA ramped up on regulations and implemented much stricter rules regarding medicinal usage.

Unfortunately, we never got to see the full potential of Harrington fully develop into fruition due to multiple injuries. When a player gets injured in the NBA, doctors do not hesitate to prescribe opioids especially after surgery is required. The majority of approved medicines on these doctors’ lists come with several side effects and detrimental factors. Cannabis has been a banned substance in the NBA since 1999.* After leaving the league, Harrington has embarked upon a mission to change the perspective around medical cannabis.

It all started while he was playing for the Denver Nuggets and caught wind of the various medicinal benefits cannabis could offer those with certain ailments. It struck a chord with him because his grandmother suffered severely from glaucoma and was not seeing improvements with her medical regimen. Harrington convinced his 81-year-old grandmother to consume cannabis hoping that she would experience improvement with her negative symptoms. After waking up from his 90-minute pre-game nap he checked in on his grandmother. Tears streamed down her face as she was finally able to read the words in her Bible for the first time in three years.

Spearheading the effort

This miraculous experience inspired Harrington to start his own medical marijuana company aptly titled, “Viola” which is his grandmother’s name. At first, he received many offers from growers and cultivators whom he did not trust given the fact that he was a minority trying his hand within an all cash business for the first time. Rather than taking that risk, he decided to start his own company from the ground up with his cousin, Dan.

The business actually began under his cousin’s name and he joined as a silent partner due to the fact that he was still playing in the NBA at the time of inception. They started in 2011 as Viola Extracts under the Colorado caregivers model. Their primary patients were those suffering from HIV. In 2014, they purchased a 12,000 square foot facility in Denver that could hold up to sixteen plants at a time. Today, they sell their products in over 30 stores across the country and operate vertically integrated facilities in Michigan, Oregon, Colorado and California.

As a top-ranked concentrate company in Colorado, Viola Brands carries a variety of products. In stores, they offer high-quality flower, vapes, extracts, shatter, butter, crumble and solventless water hash. A major way that Viola spreads its awareness is by giving certain platforms to support much before they are known to the public. That way, they get in at a good price and play a mutual role in helping each business soar. They started their diverse marketing approach by holding giveaways on an app called, “Claim It.” Their first major distributor was the Koreatown Medical Marijuana Collective in Melrose near West Hollywood. Their first joint partnership with Vertical Brands gave them some momentum to continue pursuing different opportunities. Recently, they struck a deal with Pax who is a powerhouse in the cannabis industry.

Therapeutic tendencies

Viola continues to expand. Harrington started a CBD offshoot called, “Harrington Wellness” and launched his Re+Play line a few months ago. The company bestows some of the market’s finest products that deal with Relief, Relaxation and Recovery in the form of all hemp based topicals, tinctures, capsules and recovery drinks. They leverage proprietary research, cutting edge science and a global distribution network to distribute personal care products that possess terrific innovation.

A major reason why Harrington is one of the top cannabis entrepreneurs in the country is because he is extremely smart. He takes all the right steps when it comes to supply chain management, technology and e-commerce practices. He did so by committing to research and staying under the radar by putting forth a consistent grind to get his company to soar. The timing worked out magnificently, as his company began to reap incredible results and received features in the press right around the time cannabis started to become a bit more destigmatized.


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