Allen Iverson and Viola Brands are teaming up to release exclusive strains and merchandise across various markets, and we’re excited.
As a Black-owned brand, Viola is dedicated to building equity and improving the status of human rights in the cannabis space. With the help of NBA Hall of Fame legend Allen Iverson, they are going to be able to get the word out through the partnership that legal cannabis is for everyone, and prisoners, notably people of color, should not be behind bars while others freely profit from cannabis legalization.
Founded by CEO Al Harrington, the purpose behind Viola is to create “an industry leading and scalable collaboration across product lines and markets,” according to the brand’s press release. As an NBA legend himself, Harrington is plugged into how star power in the basketball world can help influence policy and Black advocacy in the cannabis world and other spaces. Partnering with Iverson is the next natural step for the strong and inclusive brand.
For this historic pairing, Iverson and Harrington got together in the Viola grow operation in Detroit to tour the facility. Despite his CEO status and clout in the industry, Harrington is still Viola’s head grower. He made sure Iverson got the full tour and understands the power and attention to detail Viola values in its flower.
Viola is committed to increasing minority participation in the industry. Currently, minority ownership only makes up four percent of the cannabis industry, while Black folks and other POC still sit behind bars for cannabis distribution or even just cannabis possession. The goal of Viola and other like-minded companies is to increase minority participation and ownership.
“I’ve had a lot of people approach me with business opportunities, but this one with Al was different,” said Iverson. “After seeing how devoted he is to this business, and him educating me on how beneficial the plant is, it just felt right. I’m excited to be a part of it. Together, we’re going to change the game.”
Allen Iverson to Bring Partnership and Community
This partnership will roll out both cannabis and non-cannabis products. The Iverson Collection will be an exclusive series of strains that will launch across Viola markets very soon. October will see the brand’s launch of the first strain in California, to be sold exclusively at Elevate and Jade Room.
“In the same way Allen impacted the culture, we’re going to continue to impact the cannabis industry,” said Viola CEO, Al Harrington. “We’re going to keep pushing boundaries. I’m honored to have Allen on board. We want to continue to inspire others and encourage people of color to participate in the cannabis space.”
In addition to this partnership, Iverson and Harrington are also teaming up on Harrington’s wellness CBD company, rePlay. There will be more announcements soon around the specifics of that partnership and what the two will once again bring to the table together.
Viola as an Industry Leader
“Viola is the leading Black-owned producer and licensed wholesaler of premium cannabis products rooted in purpose,” its brand statement explains, according to a press release submitted about the announcement.
“Founded in 2011, NBA veteran Al Harrington was inspired to launch the brand by his grandmother, Viola, who suffers from glaucoma and diabetes and found solace in cannabis remedies,” it reads. “The brand integrates the latest cutting-edge technology with its own proprietary processes designed for every stage of cultivation, extraction and production. Viola is known for its wide variety of product offerings, from high-quality flower to premier butane extracts. From regulation to representation and reform, Viola’s mission is to create opportunities for communities of color in the cannabis industry.”
Addison Herron-Wheeler is co-publisher and owner of OUT FRONT Magazine, and web editor of New Noise Magazine. She covers cannabis and heavy metal, and is author of Wicked Woman: Women in Metal from the 1960s to Now and Respirator, a collection of short stories.