Al Harrington may have had a great career on the court, but his career after basketball may be more legendary. This week, Harrington's cannabis company, Viola, became the first Black-owned multinational marijuana brand. Viola is taking its talents over the Canadian border with the help of Avicanna. Avicanna, a biopharmaceutical company, will work with Viola to develop different formulations that can service a variety of retail channels in Canada.
“[Avicanna's] commitment to research and development of cannabis in the medical and pharmaceutical industries makes them the perfect biotech partner to bring Viola’s brand to our Northern neighbors,” Harrington told Forbes.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Avicanna to expand into the Canadian market. Becoming the first Black-owned multinational brand is a significant milestone for Viola, and we look forward to expanding our product offering and Viola’s mission into a new market."
Like many business deals of this magnitude, this partnership did not come together overnight. Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian said that he had been working with Harrington to bring this partnership to life over the course of two years.
“We are proud to be supporting Al’s vision and the Viola brand with its growth and expansion into Canada. This is an incredible opportunity to provide not only access to a premium cannabis brand, but also a humanist philosophy that our diverse community in Canada can relate to," Azadian said.
“Additionally, being headquartered in Toronto, one of the most [multicultural cities] in the world, our diverse management team sees the launch of Viola in Canada as a chance to lay the foundation for Viola’s mission of representation and reform in the Canadian cannabis space."
Harrington's 10-year-old brand continues to expand. Viola is available in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington. With New Jersey and New York relaxin cannabis-related laws, the brand could soon expand into his hometown of Orange, New Jersey.