Over the past year, we’ve seen an influx of Black entrepreneurs venture into the cannabis industry. People like Viola Brands’ Al Harrington, Wilson Chandler, and John Monopoly are among the businessmen that are ensuring that more people who look like us have ownership in the industry.
As former NBA players turned businessmen, Harrington and Chandler wanted to ensure that their legacy went beyond just basketball.
“I think the main thing was just educating myself toward the end of my career after I started to realize that I wasn’t jumping as high, I wasn’t as fast, I wasn’t as important to the league like I used to be. So, I had to figure out what was next,” said Harrington in a recent episode of Black Tech Green Money.
Harrington, who recently announced the launch of the Harrington Insitute, a school for cannabis education, attributes that business mindset to his financial adviser.
“I always give my financial adviser a lot of credit because throughout my career I’ve had great opportunities and business deals thrown my way, but they encouraged me to do my own research and come to them with why it was a good idea,” he continued. “Because I got into that practice, it allowed me to become a better entrepreneur.”
For Kanye West’s manager, Monopoly, it’s also about positioning yourself to grab those opportunities.
“You’ve got to keep your eyes and ears open at all times and always just be in search of the right opportunity — because I’ve been in the music and entertainment [industry] for almost 30 years now and I’ve been exposed to a lot of different opportunities, but it’s all about finding the right situation,” he shared.
For the trio, the right situation was to create more opportunities for Black people in the cannabis industry. Chandler says that it is our culture specifically that adds flavor to the industry.
“Our culture brings that extra push to the space,” he said. “We pretty much determine everything that’s hot in every space that we’ve been in and that’s the same with cannabis. Bringing that style and labor to the space is another part of having good business practices.”
For more from Harrington, Chandler, and Monopoly on how they banded together to expand the current three percent market share of the cannabis industry owned by Black people, listen to the full episode of Black Tech Green Money below: