Malawi Invites Tyson as Cannabis Ambassador

Stephen Andrews
30 Nov 2021

Malawian Agriculture Minister Lobin Low wrote to boxing legend and cannabis entrepreneur Mike Tyson to become the country's official ambassador on cannabis. The minister said legalization in Malawi had created new opportunities.

Tyson made a name for himself after becoming the world's youngest heavyweight champion in 1986. The former boxer runs a multi-million dollar cannabis business in the U.S. these days. An ambassadorship invitation from high-level officials in Malawi is nothing short of flattering, although some civil society groups have criticized the move. 

"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," the country's agricultural minister wrote in a letter. 

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 are due for him to visit the country.

Malawi legalized farming and processing cannabis for medicinal purposes last year, however, it has not introduced regulation for personal use yet. Enhanced legislation can undoubtedly bring the small landlocked country many benefits from the growing cannabis sector in Africa

More African countries have begun to recognize cannabis as "green gold," and fortunately for Malawi, it does have its own very popular strain – Malawi Gold – cherished among recreational users around the globe. 

The country's agricultural ministry appeals to farmers to cultivate cannabis for medicinal use and hemp for industrial use. 

The government hopes that Tyson's name attracts more investors into the southeastern African country. His enterprises Tyson Holistic and Tyson Runch collaborate with local farmers in the U.S. to manufacture branded marijuana products, including Strains, Pre-rolls, and Cones. 

The boxing star has claimed multiple times cannabis helps him combat anxiety and maintain his mental health and wellbeing.

However, his invitation for cannabis ambassadorship in Malawi triggered disapproval from a Malawian civil society group, The Center for Public Accountability. The former boxing champ has a history of sex-related convictions. Tyson served less than three years in prison between 1992 and 1995 after facing charges of rape in Indiana.

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." 

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Agriculture followed up to dismiss the criticism in a statement to CNN, saying "Malawi as a nation believes that Mr. Tyson is a right and reformed person as he was released on parole."

The spokesperson said, "the moral appeal by some quarters, to continue holding Mr. Tyson to a wall of moral incapacity doesn't hold water."

Stephen Andrews