New cannabis incubator program launched by NBA veteran

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Al Harrington’s Viola is giving support to minorities to get into the cannabis industry

NBA veteran Al Harrington’s cannabis brand Viola opened its newest cannabis incubator program this week. Viola plans to help with sales, marketing and fundraising resources to companies through the new program. Harrington recently said he was on a mission to create 100 Black millionaires in the cannabis industry. Gold Standard Farms is the first company accepted into the incubator program. It is a Black, family-owned farm that has consistently worked to help those in the African American community. “Together we’re continuing to create space for the Black community within an industry we’ve been lacking in representation for so long,” says Jarrel Howard, founder and CEO of Gold Standard Farms.

Viola launched its social equity initiative, Viola Cares, earlier this year and now seeks to help smaller Black-owned businesses become successful in the cannabis industry. “The disproportionate [number] of obstacles people of color face is no secret,” said Harrington. “Basic access to capital and entrepreneurial knowledge are some of the most prominent barriers to entry within the cannabis space. These obstacles are felt most by minority communities and the launch of this incubator program is our response to actively combat this issue.”

Gold Standard Farms is just one of several companies in the cannabis industry that are riding the green wave that does not seem to have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Viola hopes the incubator program with not only help the smaller businesses thrive but increase its standing in the cannabis industry at the same time, and now plans to expand into Missouri’s cannabis market, as well.