Malawi has approached Mike Tyson, the boxing legend, to become the country’s official ambassador for the country’s cannabis industry.
After a successful boxing career – albeit one with its fair share of controversy – in which he made a name as arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Mike Tyson went into cannabis farming. His success in this venture has been nothing short of impressive.
His brand, “Tyson 2.0”, is eye-catching in its striking red-black-white cannabis packaging and offers concentrates, flower, edibles, beverages, and pre-rolls of famous Toad lines, Lemon Pie, Gelato, and Runtz, among other premium strains.
It was, therefore, no surprise when Lobin Low, the Malawian Minister of Agriculture, sent Tyson a letter requesting that he take up the role. The letter expressed that marijuana legislation had created new opportunities and saw the alliance as an excellent next step.
However, the move has been heavily criticized, citing the imprisonment of the boxing legend in the 90s for sex offenses.
In his letter, Mr. Lowe wrote that since the cannabis industry is quite complex, collaboration was needed. He noted this as the reason why appointing Iron Mike Tyson as Malawi’s cannabis branch ambassador was necessary. Lobin Lowe also mentioned that the United States Cannabis Association was helping work out the deal with Tyson.
The head of the association’s Malawi branch, Wezi Ngalamila, confirmed that the heaviest puncher of all time had, in fact, accepted the offer, and they were already working on plans for him to visit.
Although Malawi legalized the growth and processing of marijuana for medicinal use, the country didn’t legalize it for personal use.
The Malawian Ministry of Agriculture has urged its farmers to grow cannabis and hemp for medicinal and industrial use.
Talking to the AFP news agency, the spokesperson of the agriculture ministry, Gracian Lungu said that the country was working on the alliance with the former world boxing heavyweight champion hoping that his backing would rope in investors and potential buyers.
Malawi gold is a cannabis variety that is grown in the country and is renowned all around the world by recreational users.
Tyson has spoken in favor of cannabis use, saying that it helped improve his mental health and set his life right. Nevertheless, studies have suggested that smoking potent cannabis – rather than hemp – can significantly increase your risk of experiencing mental illness.
Unfortunately, the dark parts of Mike Tyson’s past life seem to have caught up with him. The Center for Public Accountability, a Malawian civil society group, criticized the cooperation, citing Tyson’s previous crimes.
In 1992, Tyson, who still holds the record for the youngest boxer to have a heavyweight boxing title, went to jail after being convicted of rape in Indiana. However, the former champ was released barely three years into his six-year sentence.
The CPA said that it failed to understand why the country would ever consider having a convicted rapist as its brand ambassador, particularly at a time when curbing violence against women was one of its main agendas. This statement was released by the group’s acting director, Kondwani Munthali.
Tyson was arrested and jailed for allegedly raping an 18-year-old Miss Desiree Washington. At the time, the woman was Miss Black Rhode Island. Now, the father of seven is required by federal law to register as a Tier II sex offender for life. However, this is unlikely to deter the alliance from happening.