Social Impact Initiative Aims to Destigmatize Minority Representation and Increase Social Equity Within the Cannabis Industry
CALIFORNIA: Viola, a nationwide leader in the production and sale of premium quality cannabis products founded by NBA veteran Al Harrington, today announced the official launch of its social equity initiative – Viola Cares. Through education, equitable offerings, expungement, and incubation programs, the initiative will result in more than 10,000 jobs, hundreds of new business owners and expanded industry diversity by increasing representation, facilitating community building and providing employment opportunities.
Viola’s first strategic alliance within its Viola Cares program kicks-off with Root & Rebound. Root & Rebound is home to lawyers and advocates committed to restoring power and resources to the communities most harmed by mass incarceration and the War on Drugs. Their work combines direct legal services with systems-changing policy advocacy and public education, in an effort to move society toward greater racial and economic equity, justice, collective liberation and intergenerational healing. Their educational resources like the California Roadmap to Reentry, the Reentry Planning Toolkit, the National Fair Chance Housing Toolkit, and others have supported thousands of people as they work to navigate the collateral consequences of an arrest or conviction history.
Viola, in conjunction with Root and Rebound, will produce a first-of-its-kind toolkit designed specifically for people with cannabis-related convictions, to be entitled: “A New Leaf: A ‘How-To Guide’ for Successful Reentry After A Cannabis Conviction.”
“At Viola, we live and breathe the belief that a cannabis conviction should never be considered a life sentence,” said Al Harrington, Founder, Viola. “In joining forces with Root and Rebound, we will look to help those communities of color who have historically been the victims of cannabis-related incarceration and who have fallen on hard times, and turn those struggles into opportunities for success within this rapidly growing industry.”
Opportunity within the cannabis industry only continues to grow as legalization progresses and passes into law across the country, and Viola is breaking the barrier of entry for minorities to contribute to that growth through cultivation and entrepreneurship.
“We’re honored to be working side-by-side with Viola on such an important initiative–one that positively impacts thousands who have been unfairly stigmatized by their prior cannabis-related incarceration,” Katherine Katcher, Founder and Executive Director of Root and Rebound. “Together we’re changing that conversation, leveling the playing field for minorities and creating opportunities for those deserving of a second chance.”
In celebration of the strategic alliance between Viola and Root and Rebound, Viola will host a welcome reception and panel discussion in support of the launch of “A New Leaf” toolkit at the Viola headquarters in Los Angeles on February 26, 2020. A moderated panel hosted by Viola CMO Ericka Pittman will include Katherine Katcher, Eliana Green, and Sandra Johnson from the Root & Rebound team, along with Al Harrington and Dan Pettigrew, Co-Founders of Viola moderated by Van Lathan.
CALIFORNIA: Viola, a national leader in the production and sale of premium quality cannabis products founded by NBA veteran Al Harrington, today announced the closing of a $16 million funding round led by Gotham Green Partners. The investment firm, known for its financial support of some of the most reputable cannabis companies in the industry, is the first institutional investment in the company.
This latest round of funding will assist with the acquisition of a 34,500 sq. ft cultivation, processing and distribution facility in Adelanto, California as well as the completion of Viola’s 48,000 sq. ft facility in Detroit, Michigan. The funds will also enable Viola to continue to advance the growth of the company’s personnel with key new hires that will continue to establish Viola as a leader in the cannabis marketplace.
Viola emerged on the scene with a commitment to making an impact by promoting social equity through increasing minority participation in the cannabis industry and positively impacting communities by reinvesting in individuals most affected by the war on drugs. Viola raised $15 million prior to this round of funding, which enabled the company to grow its product offerings and footprint within the cannabis industry. The company is currently operating in California, Colorado, Oregon and Michigan, with plans to expand into Maryland, Nevada and Arizona in 2020.
“Over the last five years, Viola has been dedicated to creating and producing quality herbal experiences for our customers,” said Al Harrington, CEO of Viola. “With the financial support and investment of Gotham Green Partners, our ability to dedicate more physical space to growing and cultivating our flowers and team will make the possibilities endless.”
“We are thrilled to be aligned with Viola as the company expands its lifestyle brand into new markets,” said Jason Adler, Managing Member of Gotham Green Partners. “As the firm’s visionary, Al has successfully launched the concept and subsequently surrounded himself with a top-notch management team. Further, Al’s background and the company’s mission resonate with a broad and engaged consumer base, and we are excited to see Viola products on more retail shelves across the country.”
CALIFORNIA: Retired NBA great Al Harrington, who discovered the benefits of CBDs (Cannabinoids) at the end of his playing career, has premiered a new line of wellness products based on hemp, the non-psychoactive elements found in the plant. As an upscale consumer brand, Harrington Wellness will feature products that will foster healthy living and all the benefits that come from it.
Harrington introduced the new brand at a star-studded dinner last night in Beverly Hills at the start of the NBA’s 2018 All-Star Weekend that is taking place in Los Angeles.
“After more surgeries than I care to admit, my knee was shot, and I was in pain all the time,” said Harrington, CEO of Harrington Wellness and founder of The Harrington Group. “If I had the benefit of CBDs, like our Harrington Wellness Cream when I was playing, there’s no doubt I could have played two or three more seasons in the NBA.”
It was Harrington’s fall 2017 “Uninterrupted” online interview with retired NBA Commissioner David Stern, which has generated over 122,000 views on YouTube and more than one million total across various websites, that led to the creation of Harrington Wellness.
“David and I were talking about the benefits of CBDs and how NBA players could benefit from them,” added the former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets forward. “That interview led to lots of interest and an outpouring of support, so I created Harrington Wellness to fill the unserved niche of upmarket, professional and premium CBD products that are legal anywhere in the country.”
Harrington initially discovered the recuperative power of Cannabis, and later CBDs, as a result of convincing his grandmother, Viola, to use extracts to help with her glaucoma. As a result, Harrington Wellness’ sister company, Viola Extracts, is named in her honor.