Michelle Intimate CBD Oil

Michele Harrington spoke with BOSSIP about Foria's benefits for intimacy and women's wellness with their CBD-based products. She and her husband Al Harrington are among the few African-Americans working in the cannabis industry. /PRNewswire/ — Al Harrington, NBA veteran and founder of Viola, a nationwide leader in the production and sale of premium quality cannabis products, today… Since joining the plant-based CBD company—which sells women’s sexual wellness products ranging from tonics and lubes to bath salts—she’s launched a brand ambassador program and a series of monthly webinars and educational events on Clubhouse in an effort to reach more Black women.

Michele Harrington Shares The Benefits Of Foria For Intimacy And Wellness

Let’s Get Intimate! Foria’s Michele Harrington Opens Up About The Benefits Of CBD For Women’s Wellness [Exclusive]

If you’re looking for a natural way to spice things up in your sex life…

Source: April Johnston / Courtesy

AND help with women’s wellness around any painful menstrual cramps or other symptoms, there may be a plant-based solution for you.
BOSSIP recently chatted it up with Michele Harrington, who describes herself as a change agent in the cannabis industry, committed to educating the Black community about the medicinal and sexual wellness benefits of CBD products. As an investor and the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Foria Wellness, Michele leads multicultural marketing, influencer brand campaigns and hosts educational events focused on destigmatizing CBD usage for sexual health, wellness, and intimacy. Before joining Foria, Michele was involved in the cannabis industry for almost a decade as the co-owner of Viola Brands, the nation’s first and largest Black-owned multinational cannabis company.

Check out our Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden’s conversation with Michele below:

BOSSIP: Let’s start with what Foria is.

Michele Harrington: We were established in 2014. It’s the first cannabis and hemp brand in the sexual wellness space, so we’ve kind of pioneered there. All organic, plant-based formulas for quality of life – in the bedroom with our intimacy and outside the bedroom with our wellness and our relief, and I think it encompasses every woman in every part of her life because we have, you know as early as when you get your menstrual period to as far back as when you’re going through menopause. These products kind of grow with you, so I think that’s a really big part, that everyone can use them.

Source: Foria / Courtesy

BOSSIP: I was looking at the salve. Is that a new product?

MH: The salve is amazing, it’s 100% organic. It’s got kava in it, eucalyptus, it’s organic hemp and the full spectrum, and it’s coconut oil-based, so it absorbs into your body really quickly. You can use it on your abdomen to relieve cramps. You can use it after you’ve worked out. That’s the good thing about our CBD, and I always say this. Not every CBD is created equally. Ours is lab tested for purity, for potency, for contaminants. Just so you’re more relaxed to want to try it, because there’s no chemicals in it.

BOSSIP: That’s good to know for the people who may be using, meds for their cramps. I just know I personally would rather use something natural as opposed to meds.

MH: Motrin was created in 1911, and it was one of the first things they created, and it was originally for hiccups and then we started using it for menstruals. We all know that doesn’t work. That in 1911 was the last time something was developed for us, I mean, that’s crazy.

BOSSIP: Absolutely so OK. So I know Foria was created in 2014, but you came on board more recently, right?

MH: I came on board last year and it’s a funny story how I got involved.

My husband came home from a convention and he brought home Foria and he was like, ‘Let’s try this, it’s supposed to like get you all wet,’ and then I’m like — okay, you know I was like, ‘Is it gonna change my pH? Is it gonna get me high?’ I wasn’t as knowledgeable back then on the effects that CBD had, right? So you know, naturally, I was curious. I did my research, and upon finding you know the testimonies on Foria — the testimonies alone will want you to try will have you wanting to try. I tried it, loved it and that’s pretty much it. I fell in love with it and I was like this is a product that needs to be on everyone’s bedside essential. Or in their medicine cabinets. It’s for everyone and I was so passionate about wanting to spread the word you know, on Foria because people don’t know, but more specifically, black and Brown people don’t know that even exists. That there’s relief.

Definitely one of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of Foria is because so many women are living with endometriosis, vaginismus all these different ailments, that they’re living in a perpetual cycle of pain and they don’t know that these products exist. Just last year 75% of women were still experiencing painful sex at some point and 80% of them were experiencing painful menstrual cramps.

When I think about that, I’m like you just gotta use Foria to get you some sort of relief. You can insert our suppositories vaginally or anally depending on where your pain is.

Some people may ask why is it a suppository? Why not take an oral form? When it has to go through your digestive system you’re only getting limited amounts of CBD into your body to where it actually needs to go. If you insert it rectally or vaginally you’re getting whatever dosage, if it’s a 50-milligram suppository versus 100-milligram suppository, you’re getting localized direct relief in those particular areas where you’re having those muscle spasms. I just think that everybody needs to know about it, and I want to shout it from the rooftops.

BOSSIP: No, I absolutely understand, and I’m now that I know that you know there are so many different ways to use it, I’m definitely going to try it this cycle and see how it helps with my period.

MH: There’s such a stigma around CBD and the consumption of it, ’cause people think you’re going to get high or it’s going to dull your senses, but by law, your CBD has to contain less than .03% THC, and in some instances when you have that third-party testing as we do, there’s non-detectable amounts of THC in it. So I just want to put it out there that you’re not going to get high by using these products.

BOSSIP: Are there any plans to make products with higher concentrations of THC?

MH: We initially started with Pleasure, which was like an arousal oil. We started with that, but that has THC in it. But that’s only sold in just in the dispensaries. So when we thought of globally taking over the market, you had to eliminate the THC so that you could ship state to state. For me, I felt like the CBD works better for me as far as the inflammation goes. But in California you can go into the dispensary and get pleasure and try it.

BOSSIP: Do you ever experience any stigma or have people try to shame you? I understand that part of the message of the brand is that we do need to break out of the shaming in our community, but sometimes people are quick to be like, ‘Don’t you have kids, like should you really be talking about sexual wellness?’

MH: I had kids. That’s one of the reasons that I should be talking about it. I mean, should I not talk about sex when I have four children? How did they get here? Absolutely. Like it’s taboo.

The important conversations that we’re supposed to have around sex, we don’t have. I’ve already had to start talking to my daughter who is 11. She got her period at 10. We did something unconventional. It was during COVID, so I set up a Zoom of all my first cousins, my aunts, grandparents, godparents. We had about 15 women on Zoom for her. Everyone talked about their first period experience. It’s such a community. I do things sometimes unconventionally. She was embarrassed at first, but she learned so much in that Zoom call because I had 15 women explaining to her why we do what we do, and how this is supposed to feel, and why we feel these things and she was so more knowledgeable coming out of that Zoom than she was if I just avoided the conversation with her.

BOSSIP: That’s great, especially to be so young, because I remember my first period like yesterday and just the embarrassment…

MH: For me, I feel like my goal with Foria is trying to help uplift the black and Brown community with these products. I’m so passionate about helping educate them on what exactly CBD is and how this plant-based medicine is so beneficial for our health. Helping us stay in homeostasis, you know alleviating stress. My partnership involves onboarding multicultural women as brand ambassadors, offering them an opportunity to invest in Foria, because I think knowledge is so powerful, it’s such a powerful tool, and the best thing you can do is to continuously educate others about the realities of CBD.

Each person we educate is a catalyst, an access catalyst to be able to help change the entire society as a whole over time. The more you know, the better you do, and I just think if we continue to educate people on the benefits and trying to destigmatize what cannabis has become since the early 1900s, when it was criminalized, you know it’s just kind of trying to transform that way of thinking. If we do that, this market has a trajectory of reaching $123 billion by 2027. As long as we continue to change that narrative.


BOSSIP: OK, so I’m not going to hold you for much longer, but I did want to ask you just about working with your husband. What’s it like working together?

MH: It’s funny. We don’t see eye to eye on certain things, sometimes we may need that third-party mediation to come in because sometimes we’re saying the same exact thing, but we’re saying them differently and we can’t get out of each other’s way. But for the most part, it’s been amazing, because we’ve been together since we were 19. Neither one of us knew what lay ahead, that we would be together 22 years later and have four children together. But I just think as a couple, as long as you continue to grow and keep holding that other person accountable and lifting that other person up, you’re going to have success, and with us, we work well together because I know him so well, that I know when to apply pressure and I know when to pull back.

BOSSIP: How does it compare to when he was playing basketball? I’m sure that was harder because you guys were away from each other more.

MH: What’s surprising is, that this business has been so much more demanding, more so than basketball even was he was gone. You know — 82 games, he may be gone for a week at a time, but it’s a set schedule. With this business, he’s a multistate operator so he has to fly to other locations when something’s going on. He has to fly to Detroit. He may have to fly to Portland. He may have to go back to Denver. So he’s constantly flying around.

Right now it’s been two weeks he’s been gone because something came up in Detroit and he had to fly out there, make store visits, retrain some of the staff. I tell him all the time, when we were in basketball, you know we decided to wait towards the end of his career to have children so that he could be present. And then you only get a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time with basketball, and I think that’s what people forget. They think, ‘Oh, you’re making all these millions of dollars,’ but you have to have that money last you the rest of your life. And if you are used to living a certain lifestyle, you can’t keep depleting from your account. You have to continue to add to it too. So it was only natural that we started these businesses. So I can’t complain because it’s our breadwinner, but at the same time, you know, now we’ve just started incorporating trips together and trips with the kids when he does have to take those trips to Detroit or Portland, or Atlanta. When he has to take those trips, sometimes the family just comes along now.

Founder Of Viola Al Harrington Invests In Health And Sexual Wellness Brand Foria

LOS ANGELES , Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Al Harrington, NBA veteran and founder of Viola, a nationwide leader in the production and sale of premium quality cannabis products, today announced the most recent investment in premium health and sexual wellness brand, Foria. This alliance expands the overall Harrington family investments into the CBD space with Al Harrington’s wife, Michele Harrington , leading the way. The strategic partnership is a key initiative for Foria, known for its near decade of history creating 100% plant-based and organic THC and CBD products, as it expands its brand reach.

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Coming into her first official role within the CBD and cannabis industry, and following years of consulting Al Harrington on major decisions for Viola, Michele Harrington will drive a multi-faceted growth campaign together with Foria’s leadership. With over ten years of experience as Al’s partner in Viola, Michele will focus on strategic expansion efforts with the goal of increasing general awareness, education, and fundraising efforts. As an advisor to Viola, Michele provides counsel on creative initiatives from the establishment of the company’s non-profit, Viola Cares to the brand’s many successful partnerships with fashion brands, artists and other like-minded cannabis brands. Additionally, she will explore new opportunities beginning with a partnership with Viola and other brand extensions that align with Foria for continued amplification within the marketplace, while bringing new products and creative initiatives to markets and demographics outside of Foria’s immediate consumer base.

“Women’s wellness, sexual awareness and education has always been a passion of mine,” said Michele Harrington , Head of Strategic Partnerships for Foria. “I have been using Foria for the past three years and experienced the many benefits of their products. The work that Foria has done to empower women by supporting overall wellness in their different life stages is inspiring. I believe in Foria’s mission and am excited to help others on this part of their personal journeys.”

Foria was built on the efficacy of their products supporting female pleasure and sexual wellness, and has grown into a global brand, primarily through word of mouth. With formulas created to close the pleasure gap, Foria has been praised by Bloomberg, VICE, Well + Good, Refinery29 and many other media heavy-hitters. Their commitment to 100% plant-based products and environmental responsibility sets the standard for the entire THC & CBD industry. Prior to the partnership with Michele Harrington , the brand has steadily grown its consumer base among passionate audiences. Michele will provide additional connection to networks outside of Foria’s immediate reach who appreciate and understand the brand’s purpose.

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Viola produces a range of cannabis products catered to individuals’ palates and needs. From cultivating premium flower to processing butane extracts, Viola manages every aspect of their production process, applying the latest and most proven technologies to ensure the consistency and quality of their products. Similar to Viola’s commitment to producing quality products, Foria is an innovative health and sexual wellness company, rooted in the proven wisdom of plants and powered by compassion with a product catalogue of various offerings for intimacy, wellness and relief. Sustainability is also a core tenet for Foria – all boxes are made of 100% PCW paper, and products are housed in recyclable amber glass bottles with no paint, frosting or metallics used.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Michele Harrington to the Foria family,” shared Foria co-CEO Jon Brandon . “The synergies between our brands are obvious and the Harringtons’ participation with us will help introduce Foria to a diverse set of communities, thereby extending the reach of our brand and the benefits of our products to more people everywhere. Michele’s direct equity investment has also accelerated our Series B fundraising efforts.”

For more information on Viola, please visit: https://violabrands.com/ and https://www.foriawellness.com/ for additional information on Foria.

About Viola and Michele Harrington :
Founded in 2011 by NBA veteran Al Harrington , Viola is one of the nation’s leading producers and licensed wholesalers of premium quality cannabis products. The brand is named after and inspired by Al’s grandmother who suffers from glaucoma and diabetes, finding solace in cannabis remedies. Viola has integrated the latest cutting-edge technology with its own proprietary procedures designed for every stage of the cultivation, extraction and production process. The company is known for its wide variety of product offerings including a high-quality flower to premier butane extracts.

Michele Harrington is the Head of Strategic Partnerships for Foria and Senior Advisor to Viola Brands . With over 10 years of experience within the cannabis space, she has worked alongside her husband Al Harrington to exponentially grow the business providing counsel on brand partnerships, creative campaigns and internal operations for Viola. Prior to working in cannabis, Michele worked as a licenced practical nurse in Indiana and in New Jersey as a licensed real estate agent during Al’s NBA career with various teams. A Brooklyn native, she now resides in Los Angeles raising a family of four.

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About Foria:
Foria is an innovative health and sexual wellness company, rooted in the proven wisdom of plants and powered by compassion – our all-natural cannabis and hemp formulas have been changing lives since 2014. As the first brand to create comprehensive product lines for intimacy, relief, and daily wellbeing, we now offer effective, all-organic products for important and under-served life experiences, from menstruation to menopause. With an unwavering commitment to 100% clean ingredients (that means no chemicals of any kind, ever), organic and regenerative farming, taboo busting sex education, and responsible packaging, we strive to set the highest standards of purity and transparency — for your health, and the health of our planet.

How Michele And Al Harrington Are Destigmatizing Cannabis While Empowering The Black Community

Michele and Al Harrington haven’t always been the cannabis connoisseurs they are today. A decade ago, Michele was selling real estate in Denver, Colorado, when her husband and NBA star Al learned his grandmother had been diagnosed with glaucoma, a degenerative eye disease that made everyday tasks a struggle. The couple started searching for ways to relieve her pain, and as a last resort, they turned to cannabis.

“Neither Al nor I smoked. You’re always taught to stay away from drugs—you know, that whole era with the War on Drugs. We fell right into that,” Michele Harrington tells Forbes. “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.”

At first, the Harrington matriarch refused to smoke what she called “that reefa,” but as the pain became more intense, she finally agreed to vape it. Before long, the pain was gone and she was quietly reading her Bible, something she hadn’t been able to do for three years.

“It was a life-changing experience for us,” Harrington says. “That’s when we created Viola—and we named it after his grandmother.”

Founded by the Harringtons in 2011, Viola sells premium cannabis products, from butane-extracted concentrates to jars of marijuana called “ultra-premium indoor flower.” Since securing $16 million in funding from New York-based private equity firm Gotham Green Partners in 2019, the company has grown its team to around 70 employees as well as its footprint, setting up shop in two new facilities in Adelanto, California, and Detroit, Michigan. In March, it partnered with Toronto-based biopharmaceutical company Avicanna to bring Viola-branded products to Canada, becoming in the process the first Black-owned multinational cannabis brand, says Al. With thousands of customers across the country, they expect to reach $25 million in revenue this year.

Although they created the company for sentimental reasons, their investment in the marijuana market is just good business. The U.S. cannabis industry is worth $61 billion, and it’s projected to reach $100 billion by 2030.

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Still, Harrington says her main goal is increasing representation in the industry. In February of 2020, the couple launched Viola Cares, a nonprofit focused on promoting social justice and increasing representation in the cannabis industry. To that end, they have partnered with Root & Rebound—a group of lawyers and activists working for the communities most affected by mass incarceration and the War on Drugs—and have created a toolkit called A New Leaf: A ‘How-To Guide’ for Successful Reentry After A Cannabis Conviction.

“We believe that cannabis conviction should never be a life sentence. The mission at Viola is one community at a time, one flower at a time,” Harrington says. “We’re in the process of creating 10,000 jobs and hundreds of new business owners, all while expanding the industry’s diversity.”

In October, Michele took another step toward furthering that mission, joining Foria Wellness as its new head of strategic partnerships. Since joining the plant-based CBD company—which sells women’s sexual wellness products ranging from tonics and lubes to bath salts—she’s launched a brand ambassador program and a series of monthly webinars and educational events on Clubhouse in an effort to reach more Black women.

“I felt that Black people and people of color really needed to know about their CBD products—for intimacy, for wellness, for relief—and how these products can make a difference in our daily lives,” Harrington says. I approached [Foria] with my ideas on how to tap into our market, the multicultural market. And Foria loved my pitch so much that they created this position for me.”

The cannabis market is projected to grow 64% in the next decade, but around 600 thousand Black people are arrested each year for marijuana-related offenses and are nearly two times more likely to find themselves behind bars—and more than three times more likely in states that haven’t yet legalized the drug—than white people, according to the ACLU. And when Black entrepreneurs remain grossly underrepresented in the sector—a 2017 survey from the Marijuana Business Daily found that just 4.3% of cannabis business owners were African-American—the Harringtons’ leadership is significant.

They are, however, in good company: Brown Girl Jane cofounders Malaika Jones, Nia Jones and Tai Beauchamp launched their CBD company in January 2020, while Jay-Z, Jaleel White and other celebrities have also ventured into the industry in recent months. Representation, Harrington says, is critical.

“I’m showing my children that it’s not too late to create your path. I want them to see their mother and other Black women pull up their own seats at the table—or create their own table,” Harrington says. “And if I’ve helped alleviate some pain in some way, then I’ve done my job.”