What does a retired NBA player know about retail business and the cannabis industry? Al Harrington’s first cannabis company, Viola Extracts, launched in 2014 and he has been increasingly invested in the industry ever since.
Harrington has first-hand experience running a cannabis concentrate business in Colorado, growing flower and nugget extraction in Oregon, cultivating strains in Michigan, marketing high-end consumer products in California, and expanding product into several medical marijuana (MMJ) legal states across the United States.
Since cannabis became recreationally legal in Colorado, big money and big business coming into the industry is changing the entire process from extraction to packaging cannabis. However, it takes time to find, apply, and implement the right big business lessons to and industry that has relied on specialized skills up until now.
Harrington believes that the industry will begin to consolidate as people realize they need to find the best ways to use their capital in a new market. As retailers and dispensaries become regulated, competition will increase and prices will drop. But the small producers will survive if they can change their operations to still act like the big guys.
On the distribution side, no matter how big you get, the ability to navigate the industry needs to be maintained because it is very culture specific. You will see higher quality efforts in regard to wholesaler, consumer-driven campaigns, but still, so much will be pushed on the ground at a grassroots level.