Former Denver Nugget Al Harrington has embarked on an interesting career path since retiring from professional basketball in 2015. After hanging his up his shoes for good following 16 NBA seasons, “Big Al” has gone to work as a cannabis entrepreneur.
In a 15-minute documentary released Wednesday with Uninterrupted, Harrington discussed what got him into the cannabis industry in his post-playing days.
Harrington said he first used marijuana after a botched knee surgery that occurred when he was playing for the Nuggets. A complication left Harrington with a Staph Infection. To clear it up, Harrington underwent four more surgeries.
“I was on all kind of pain meds,” said Harrington, who spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons in Denver.
A friend suggested Harrington use marijuana instead.
“I immediately felt a difference,” he said.
Now Harrington runs Viola Extracts, a company that provides non-psychoactive extracts such as shatter, wax and live resins. Harrington said he has sunk $3.5 million of his own money into the company. Harrington named the company Viola after his grandmother, who after some convincing, used cannabis as a way to help her cope with glaucoma and diabetes.
Toward the end of the documentary, Harrington sits down with ex-NBA commissioner David Stern. Under Stern’s watch, the NBA cracked down on marijuana use. But the 75-year-old Stern said he now believes that marijuana used for medical purposes “should be completely legal.”
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think (marijuana) probably should be removed from the ban list,” Stern said. “I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
Stern added that NBA players should be allowed to use marijuana recreationally, provided that recreational marijuana use is legal in the player’s respective state.
“It’s a completely different perception,” Stern said. “I think we have to change the Collective Bargaining Agreement and let you do what is legal in your state. If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state.”
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