Home CultureBlack-Owned New Dispensary, Village Hoboken, Opening This Summer on Washington Street

New Dispensary, Village Hoboken, Opening This Summer on Washington Street

by Hoboken Girl Team
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A former NBA star with Jersey roots is the latest business owner to open a cannabis dispensary in Hudson County. Village Hoboken, which is opening soon at 516 Washington Street, is owned by Al Harrington, an Orange native and a 16-season NBA veteran. His company, Viola Brands, has sold its products in other dispensaries in the state, and this new business will sell Viola products. Read on to learn more about what we know about Village Hoboken, opening this summer in the Mile Square.

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About Viola Brands

Viola Brands is named after Al Harrington’s grandmother, Viola, who used cannabis to alleviate pain and other symptoms from glaucoma and diabetes. In an interview with Forbes, Al’s wife Michelle, also from Orange, tells how even though Viola had discouraged the use of cannabis, after some convincing, the relief was noticeable. At the time, Al was playing for the Denver Nuggets, and both Al and Michelle credit Denver’s cannabis culture for their being able to ask questions and learn about cannabis. “We didn’t know much about cannabis, but after talking to people, and because of how free Denver is, we knew that it could provide her with some relief,” Michelle told Forbes.

Read More: Hoboken Dispensary The Station Adds Recreational Sales

In a 2020 interview with Forbes, Al described Viola’s mission. “Viola is a purpose-driven brand rooted in giving back to minority communities. Black and brown communities have always been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and the repercussions of that are still felt today, which is a huge obstacle. Our mission is to undo the systematic oppressions our communities face through education, expungement programs, providing re-entry tools for previously incarcerated, etc.” To that end, Al has launched a cannabis entrepreneurship program to bring 100 Black business owners into the cannabis industry.

Viola was founded in 2011, and is the first black-owned multinational cannabis brand, with products sold in Canada and the UK. Al’s pro-level connections don’t hurt, either. Former NBA colleague Allen Iverson worked with Viola to create two personalized strains of cannabis to be sold in Viola stores. Al has also teamed up with rapper T.I. to be the company’s Social Justice and Reform Ambassador.

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Viola is a fully integrated cannabis company, meaning it grows its cannabis supply. Viola brand products have been sold at RISE dispensary locations in Bloomfield and Paterson, New Jersey since March 2023.

 

 

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Village Hoboken

The space at 516 Washington Street was formerly home to PhoNomenon restaurant. The team behind Viola has been working since early 2022 to get permits and approvals in place. The Hoboken Girl chatted with Jamil Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer for Village Brands. “We’re really excited to be in Hoboken,” Jamil said. “The diversity of the community, all the exciting things happening with retail, we want to be a part of it. Since one of our founders, Al Harrington, is from New Jersey, it’s great to put down roots there.”

“We want to be good stewards of our license, we want to be in Hoboken for a long time,” Jamil continued. “We want to do things the right way. Hoboken is one of those iconic New Jersey towns, with wide sidewalks and people out and about. We want to be like any other business on Washington Street.”

As far as choosing Hoboken, Jamil said that the brand’s ethos made the city a perfect match. “We’re called The Village because we want to bring together a variety of people and brands. Hoboken’s diversity reflects this,” he said. In addition to Viola brand products, Village Hoboken will sell products selected by the team. “We will be focused on the best products. Our buyers go in and view the facility, talk to owners, make sure the product represents what we’re trying to do,” Jamil said. “At the same time, we want a diversity of products and to make sure clients get the best product possible. ”

See More: An Architect’s Thoughts on Cannabis Businesses in the Community

Jamil said the team anticipates a May 2024 opening. “The construction is about 90% complete,” he said. “After that we’ll get our final approvals from the state.”

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