In an exclusive sit-down with The Root, NBA Veteran Al Harrington details why he has emerged as a major proponent for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. For Harrington, it all began when, on a whim, he decided to offer his grandmother a more cannabis rich alternative to treating her glaucoma and diabetes. While initially skeptical, she eventually gave in and noticed some immediate results. Seeing what the wonders of weed did for his grandmother led Harrington to delve deeper into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Harrington notes that he began medicating himself, a year later, after suffering a staph infection that resulted in multiple surgeries. While in Colorado his cousin introduced him to cannabinoids and ever since Harrington hasn’t taken Vicodin or any other sort of ant-inflammatory painkiller.
The case of Harrington’s grandmother is what allowed him to solidify his stance on his advocating for medicinal marijuana, but for him, it also goes much deeper. Al touches on his qualms with the adverse effects the war on drugs has had on black and brown communities with The Root, “I’ve been in the marijuana-industry space for the last five years, and I’ve seen that it’s a predominately white space. And minorities, we’re the ones that are locked up behind it. And not only are we locked up, when we do get home, we have felonies and we can’t even work, can’t even get a job.”
Harrington is one of the few black entrepreneurs that has been able to breach the marketplace and he hopes that going forward he can be one of many to implement some change, “There are so many ways to be in the business without even touching the plant, but I do eventually want to cultivate and manufacture. And I’d like to be able to hire people that are coming home, who have been locked up because of this nonsense.”
For the time being, Harrington is focused on raising awareness, sharing his grandmother’s story, and supporting California’s Proposition 64, so that the folks out there who condemn cannabis can truly give it an opportunity and see that it truly is integral to healing in so many different ways.