Former National Basketball Association player Larry Hughes is partnering with his former teammate-turned-cannabis executive Al Harrington to open two dispensaries and a cultivation and processing center in St. Louis, Missouri next year. The venture is called Viola Missouri (VMO).
Hughes, who was born in St. Louis and attended Christian Brothers College High School and St. Louis University, said that since his retirement in 2012 he has focused his “energy and resources on being a positive influence in this community.”
“I have championed efforts to break the stigma around mental health and spent a great deal of time helping to develop this city’s young leaders. VMO will serve the medical needs of our community, particularly those suffering with physically and mentally debilitating conditions, including [post-traumatic stress disorder]. I see this next journey as a continuation of the work that we have already done and believe VMO will soon be a model business in our community.” – Hughes in a statement
The Harrington-headed Viola is the largest Black-led and owned multi-state cannabis operator in the U.S. and VMO was awarded four Missouri cannabis industry licenses earlier this year, becoming the only Black-owned and operated cannabis firm in the state. The company said the operations would generate about 75 new jobs.
“VMO is an exciting new opportunity that will allow us to serve a community that just recently was granted access to medical cannabis and one of which is still actively working to combat the stigma associated with cannabis use,” Harrington said in a press release.
The flagship VMO dispensary will be located across the street from the forthcoming Major League Soccer stadium. The dispensaries are slated to open in April.
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