Meet Al Harrington and Allen Iverson this Labor Day in Philadelphia

Viola Brands is set to launch in the Pennsylvania medical cannabis market exclusively at RISE stores. The entry is marked by a meet-and-greet with CEO and founder Al Harrington and The Answer Allen Iverson

Strides have been taken towards cannabis normalization in the last decade. The NBA recently took notice, loosening player restrictions (including drug testing) this year. This updated agreement also allows more investment into the space, and retired players have been laying the foundation.

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Harrington is the most notable NBA player turned cannabis entrepreneur. Viola is named after Harrington’s grandmother, who suffered from glaucoma. Since founding the company in 2011, Viola is now available in eleven states– soon to be twelve.

In 2021, Harrington launched The Iverson Collection with basketball legend Allen Iverson. Iverson ‘01, the second limited edition strain from the collection, will be a part of the PA launch. The indica strain is named after the legend’s MVP season.

Iverson has spoken candidly about his experience with cannabis, which hasn’t been wholly positive. In an interview on No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, Harrington shares that the Notorious B.I.G. offered Iverson his first joint. After getting far too lifted, the NBA great was informed that the joint was rolled with hash.

That experience carried over into Iverson’s relationship with the plant, leading him to prefer to abstain. But in that interview, Harrington shares that Iverson did puff on his signature strains before they went to market. Iverson has also shared in interviews that he only trusts cannabis if it’s from Harrington.

“If I could share a joint with anyone, dead or alive, it would still be Al Harrington,” Iverson shared with Benzinga. “He’s been on me about weed for years, and he’s confident I’ll be alright with the cannabis he shares with me, that it will be right for me. So I trust him; that makes me comfortable.”

The friends and business partners will be celebrating the Pennsylvania launch together, and they’re inviting medical cannabis patients to join. Harrington and Iverson will be live in person at the newest Philadelphia RISE location in Port Richmond from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Labor Day, September 2nd.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.