- Mike Tyson owns a 40-acre cannabis ranch in California, United States.
- A civil society organisation says he is not fit for the role as he is a convicted sexual offender.
Malawi has written a formal request inviting former World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson to be the country’s cannabis brand ambassador.
In a letter dated November 1, the Minister for Agriculture Lobin Lowe acknowledged that despite legalising cannabis in 2020, Malawi has not made huge strides in the global market.
“In spite of all these perceived benefits, Malawi may not go it alone as the industry is complex requiring collaboration. I would therefore like to appoint you, Mr Mike Tyson, as Malawi’s Cannabis Branch ambassador,” Lowe said as quoted by The Zambian Observer.
Gracian Lungu, Agriculture Ministry spokesperson, says their United States Cannabis Association is “facilitating the deal with Tyson.”
The renowned fighter has a 40-acre cannabis ranch in California and last October he launched the cannabis company called Tyson 2.0.
He was expected in Malawi last week to hold talks with the ministry although his trip was postponed. In the meantime, the ministry is finalising preparations for the talks.
NGO: Mike Tyson Shouldn’t be our cannabis ambassador
A civil society organisation is, however, opposed to the idea of appointing the former boxer as brand ambassador.
According to Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), Tyson is not fit for the ambassadorial role as he was convicted and jailed over rape and sexual assault against an 18-year-old woman in 1992.
In a statement, CPA acting director, Kondwani Munthali, says the Government is making a mistake by offering.
“He remains on the sex offenders register in Arizona and Florida,” Munthali said.
“The CPA is failing to comprehend why Malawi would want to have a convicted rapist as its brand ambassador, more especially, at this time, when efforts to curb violence against women are part of the government agenda.
“As a nation that is working tirelessly to stem out gender-based violence, we cannot be seen to associate or celebrate people of Mike Tyson calibre as a face of promoting any of our products.
“We wish to believe that the letter is fake and such appointment was never considered. Or if it is true, it will be withdrawn with immediate effect,” added Munthali in the statement.