BY SAM SCHUBE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LIZ BARCLAY
Source: GQ Magazine
“We’re trying to get a billion-dollar exit,” Al Harrington tells me. This is not a crazy thing for the 6’9” former NBA journeyman to say; the hottest thing in the league these days, especially if you play for the Golden State Warriors, as Harrington once did, is to have a chunk of a tech startup. But Harrington’s billion won’t come from anything quite so disruptive. No, if Harrington has his way, he’ll get rich from something slightly more organic. Because Al Harrington is looking to become the league’s first marijuana mogul.
That’s why he’s taken me here: the Koreatown Medical Marijuana Collective, a charmingly ramshackle dispensary on Melrose in West Hollywood. They’ll be the sole California distributor of Harrington’s vapes, from Viola Extracts, and his CBD products (made from the non-psychoactive part of the plant), from Harrington Wellness. But this is just the start. He thinks the NFL will allow cannabis in one therapeutic form or another inside of three years, and the NBA inside five. And legal pot, broadly, is said to be a $40 billion industry. Harrington wants a chunk of that business. (Harrington sends me home with one of his vape cartridges. I’m no expert, but I’d pay a billion, maybe a billion-two, for the recipe.)
He’s here with a whole group of like-minded businesspeople, a half-dozen folks with cannabis concerns in Antigua, Canada, and, in the case of his former teammate Brad Miller, the same Oregon, California, and Michigan locations as Harrington. (Stephen Jackson, Harrington’s teammate in Indiana and Oakland, is here, too, ripping a joint on the sidewalk next to Harrington’s drop-top Rolls Royce, and declining a request to shout out a passerby’s YouTube channel.)
This is a goofy, tourist-friendly corner of Los Angeles, overpriced vintage shops jostling for space with pot dispensaries, and embellished-jean boutiques, but it’s familiar ground for Harrington. “That place is never busy,” he says, pointing in surprise at the bustling Village Idiot bar across the street. We head over anyway, leaving the Rolls under the care of Janice, the dispensary’s sweetheart owner. (Harrington calls her Mama Bear, and she gives us Girl Scout Cookies.) We grab a table for eight. Harrington orders a kale caesar, and tells me about his love affair with a different kind of greenery.