Malawi officials have responded to the backlash that ensued after asking boxing legend Mike Tyson to be its cannabis ambassador.
Last year, Malawi legalized growing and processing cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. Though recreational use remains illegal in the country, this was a major step towards a deeper engagement with the cannabis industry. In helping make this transition as seamless as possible, Malawi reached out to “Iron” Mike Tyson to serve in the role of “cannabis ambassador.”
Mike Tyson is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most recognized boxers of all time. He has also become a pop-culture icon who has dabbled in many projects, one of them being “Tyson 2.0,” a company owned by the boxing great that sells cannabis throughout the United States.
Between Tyson’s brand recognition as a public figure and his interest in the cannabis industry, Malawi officials considered him to be the perfect fit for the role of cannabis ambassador.
Malawi’s invitation to Tyson was soon met with backlash. Some were critical of the move due to Tyson being a convicted rapist. Tyson was imprisoned for the rape of Desiree Washington in 1992. He would serve three years for the term before being released on parole in 1995.
Malawi Representatives Respond To Backlash For Tyson Offer
Nearly three decades later, Malawi spokesperson Gracian Lungu responded to the backlash by reminding critics of the chief purpose of incarceration: rehabilitation.
“Malawi as a nation believes that Mr. Tyson is a right and reformed person as he was released on parole.”
Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Patricia Kaliati, also spoke in defense of Tyson and the country’s offer to him.
“It’s about business, (and) economic business of cannabis,” Kaliati told CNN. “We look for the prominent people, the decision-makers who can say a thing which can be recognized internationally.”
As of this writing, Mike Tyson has not formally accepted or acknowledged Malawi’s proposal to be its cannabis advisor.
Do you think Mike Tyson is a good choice for a country’s cannabis ambassador?