How a Former NBA Player Became a Marijuana Mogul

Al Harrington is used to dominating players on the basketball court. But after his retirement from the NBA, he's dominating a whole new industry: marijuana.

Harrington is the founder of Viola, a cannabis company with over 70 employees in California, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan. Harrington tried to start other businesses to prepare for his post-NBA years, but none of them worked out. But then in 2011 he invested $5 million into the company that became Viola (although he actually made the initial investment under his cousin's name to hide his involvement from the NBA).

Viola comes from Harrington's grandmother. Harrington says he's never smoked marijuana while growing up, but when his grandmother came to visit him, he noticed all her medications she took for various ailments. He suggested she try medical marijuana, and she reluctantly took it and enjoyed it.

Harrington also began using cannabis to help deal with injuries from his playing days. He started using CBD after undergoing a surgery, and now says he'll never take an opioid. He's also become an advocate for allowing professional athletes to use marijuana and CBD to help recover form injuries.

Harrington's cannabis business has become a major success. From that $5 million investment, they've expanded to four states. And now Harrington's beginning a new round of investment with a $100 million valuation for his company. His goal is for the company to someday be worth $1 billion. 

(h/t Yahoo)

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Local officials and law enforcers often have fears that allowing legal cannabis shops to operate within their jurisdictions will have detrimental effects. Some people fear that allowing pot shops in their neighborhood will increase violent crime rates, allow young people easier access to the drug and lower the property value of surrounding homes. But is any of that true?

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