February 26, Alto, a national leader in the production and sale of premium cannabis products, founded by NBA veteran Al Harrington, has announced the official launch of its social equity initiative, Viola Cares. Through education, fair dealing, delisting and incubation programs, the initiative will result in more than 10,000 jobs, hundreds of new business owners and increased diversity in the industry. increasing representation, facilitating community building and providing employment opportunities.
Viola’s first strategic alliance within the framework of its Viola Cares program starts with Root and rebound. Root & Rebound is home to lawyers and advocates determined to restore power and resources to communities most affected by mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Their work combines direct legal services with systems-changing political advocacy and public education, in an effort to advance society toward greater racial and economic equity, justice, collective liberation, and intergenerational healing. Their educational resources such as the California Roadmap to Reentry, the Reentry Planning Toolkit, the National Fair Chance Housing Toolkit and others have helped thousands of people overcome the collateral consequences of an arrest or conviction.
Viola, in collaboration with Root & Rebound, will produce a one-of-a-kind toolkit designed specifically for people with cannabis-related beliefs, titled: “A New Leaf: A ‘How-To Guide’ for Successful Reentry After A Conviction for cannabis.
“At Viola, we live and breathe the belief that a cannabis conviction should never be considered a life sentence,” said Al Harrington, founder of Viola. “By joining forces with Root & Rebound, we will seek to help communities of color who have historically been victims of cannabis-related incarcerations and who have gone through difficult times, and turn those struggles into opportunities for success within this rapidly growing industry. . ”
Opportunities within the cannabis industry continue to grow as legalization progresses and becomes law across the country, and Viola is breaking down the barrier of entry for minorities to contribute to that growth through cultivation and l entrepreneurship.
“We are honored to be working alongside Viola on such an important initiative – an initiative that has a positive impact on thousands of people unfairly stigmatized by their previous cannabis-related incarceration”, Katherine Katcher, Founder and Executive Director of Root & Rebound . “Together, we are changing this conversation, leveling the playing field for minorities and creating opportunities for those who deserve a second chance.”
Viola hosted the official launch of Viola Cares on the evening of February 26 at its Hollywood headquarters.
The evening began with Viola’s Marketing Director Ericka Pittman, who greeted guests with opening remarks.
Viola co-founder Al Harrington then introduced the partnership, explaining how Viola plans to use their platform to amplify the work and impact of Root & Rebound.
The Root & Rebound Team Eliana Green and Sandra Johnson led by Founder and Director Katherine Katcher joined Harrington to launch the moderated panel. The fireside talk, “The Effect of Social Impact and the Way Forward,” delved into the current issues our country currently faces with mass incarceration. Sandra sincerely shared her firsthand experiences as collateral damage in the War on Drugs and revealed her journey back through Root & Rebound. Sandra tearfully explained how the system had held her hostage to her past as she struggled to find and keep a job despite everything she was doing right.
Al Harrington spoke about the brand’s legacy that shaped the New Leaf initiative and how it will change the trajectory of social equity in the future. Viola and Root & Rebound shared with the audience the victorious outcome they envision through the alliance: the ability to employ every person who returns from incarceration as they reintegrate into society.