Mike Tyson-Malawian Cannabis Ambassador.

Liz Filmer
27 Nov 2021

Malawian Agriculture Minister Lobin Low wrote to Tyson inviting him to accept the role. He said that legalisation in Malawi had been a positive thing, creating new opportunities.

An extract of the letter says the following: " Malawi may not go it alone as the industry is complex [and requires] collaboration. I would therefore like to appoint you, Mr Mike Tyson, as Malawi's Cannabis Branch ambassador," 

Tyson, best known as a former world heavyweight boxing champion, has re-invented himself as a cannabis entrepreneur. He has a cannabis farm in the US, the "Tyson Ranch", and a line of cannabis products, including Strains, Pre-rolls and Cones, all under the same name.

However, the move has been criticised by some due to the former boxing legend's conviction and imprisonment for sex offences in the 1990s.

According to Mr Low, The United States Cannabis Association is supporting the deal with Tyson. The head of the associations Malawi Branch told reporters that "Iron Mike" had accepted the invitation, and plans were underway for him to visit the country.

Malawi legalised the cultivation and use of cannabis for medicinal use last year. However, it did not go as far as legalising it for personal recreational use. Malawi's agriculture ministry is encouraging farmers to grow cannabis for medicinal use as well as industrial hemp.

Ministry spokesman Gracian Lungu commented that the government is optimistic that Tyson's support will help to  "rope in some investors and potential buyers".

"Malawi Gold" - A locally grown variety of cannabis holds somewhat of a legendary status amongst recreational users worldwide. Tyson, a prominent advocate for cannabis, has long said that smoking helped him improve his mental health and change his life for the better. 

 A Malawian civil society group, The Centre for Public Accountability, is unhappy about the invitation and criticised the decision in light of Tyson's previous crimes. The former boxer was jailed in 1992 after being convicted of rape in Indiana. He was released early in 1995 after serving less than three years of his sentence.

Acting CPA director Kondwani Munthali released a statement saying:
"The CPA fails to comprehend why Malawi would want a convicted rapist as its brand ambassador. Especially at a time when efforts to curb violence against women are part of the government plan." 

Liz Filmer