By Iris Dorbian
Al Harrington is a trailblazer. At a time when it seems that yet another professional athlete is making a foray into the cannabis landscape with product launches or endorsements, Harrington preceded them years earlier with his own milestone: In 2011, the former NBA player founded Viola, a medical marijuana operation he named in honor of his grandmother after he saw how the plant treated her glaucoma. However, becoming an entrepreneur in an industry that was legal in only a few markets was a challenge for Harrington, now 40. Compounding the problems were Harrington’s lack of experience running a company as well as the fact he was entering a sector where white men predominate, and women and people of color are marginalized.