One community at a time. One flower at a time. A motto that exudes inclusion. Promoting social equality by increasing minority participation and impacting communities affected by the war on drugs. Viola brand is leading the way in the culture as the face of a successful Black Cannabis brand.
Viola has become very respected in the Cannabis industry for its consistently high-quality products. Offering premium flower, pre-rolls and what it’s best known for is its extracts. Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate manufactured using a technique that takes freshly harvested cannabis and freezes it to subcritical temperatures before and throughout the extraction process.
Viola has been producing Live Resin for 3 years and curates 100 different varieties. With vaping and lung illness creating an uproar, every product at Harrington Wellness goes through extensive and rigorous testing before being released to the public.
An issue that surfaces in the black community when it comes to business is capital and knowledge. The focus of the Viola brand is to empower minority ownership by creating a coalition of minority investors.
Working in the industry, I’ve learned that there’s not enough diversity in the ownership and managerial positions. In 2017, according to Marijuana Daily, the current representation of minorities and women in the cannabis industry was disappointing. More than 80 percent reported as white, and in executive positions, only 5 percent reported as women of color. One aspect that Viola targets are creating opportunities.
To date, they’ve committed over 500,000 to their Social Equity Program that fund and guide applicants. Providing sales and marketing to Black family-owned farms and incubating 10,000 jobs with the goal of also empowering new black business owners.
Playing 16 seasons in the National Basketball League, drafted in my hometown Indianapolis by the Indiana Pacers, Al Harrington is a trailblazer that has started a trend for black entrepreneurs. The mogul founded Viola in 2011, a medical marijuana operation he named in honor of his grandmother after witnessing the plant’s treatment of her glaucoma. The first CBD brand Harrington launched was re+PLAY which offered creams, wellness shots, and capsules.
That forward-thinking has helped combine sports medicine and CBD. Motivated by creating opportunities, health, and wellness is the mogul’s focus. With Cannabis being legalized in New Jersey and New York, medical marijuana will soon follow. As it’s at the beginning stages of being legalized globally.
Exclusively announced in March 2021, Al Harrington’s Viola products have reached Canada. Licensed with Avicanna, a cannabinoid biopharmaceutical company, that will collaborate and sell across medical and consumer retail channels.
Health and wellness, which is the main goal that started Viola Brand, is now coming to life with the launch. The importance of medical marijuana and mental health puts the company in a key position. Many athletes have reported issues with anxiety and bipolar disorder. With legalization, it can now bring new answers to strengthen cannabis usage medically within sports.
Harrington and Avicanna inked a deal earlier this year, and now also become two minority lead companies with a diverse community. With their partnership both can lay out Viola’s mission of representation and reform by starting in a Canadian cannabis space.
The key part of the deal is Viola Brand receives a royalty fee for name usage. A reoccurring issue that comes up in black businesses is capital and knowledge. In the latest study on the Personal Finance Index, showed 38 percent of African Americans’ answers were correct compared to 55 percent of their white counterparts. The lowest score for Black Americans was in comprehending, insuring, and investing. Insuring and understanding is the troubling part of financial literacy.
With Viola brand’s commitment to social equity, this deal allows the company to build the foundation through their initiative. Viola’s company seeks to create entrepreneurial opportunities for communities of color in the cannabis industry.
My experience working in Cannabis in propagation and as a Harvest Technician, there’s a need for this infrastructure that supports more people of color. Guidelines that Viola brand brings to the table like offering education, expungement, and incubation programs for minorities, will aid the process.
The difference will show in Cannabis company’s management positions. No longer will education and experience be an issue for hire. In the process of educating, the industry will open up revenue of money and opportunity to minority entrepreneurs.
With Viola brand addressing distribution of products, they also gain a foundation on educational engagement. Which will help grow other black and minority entrepreneurs abroad. CEO Aras Azadian, his company Avicanna, are headquartered in Toronto, which has one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Expanding in an area that will start with inclusion.
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