Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has accepted an invitation to become Malawi’s official cannabis ambassador.
In a letter inviting Tyson to become an ambassador for Malawi’s cannabis industry, the ministry of Agriculture stated that “Malawi cannot go it alone in this complex industry and needs a partner.”
The 55-year old has been selling cannabis products since 2016 through his Tyson Holistic label.
The deal is being facilitated by the United States Cannabis Association and the head of the Malawi branch, Wezi Ngalamila, confirmed that Tyson had accepted the proposal with plans for him to visit the country.
Malawi are hoping the move will “rope in some investors and even potential buyers” following new opportunities created by a new legislation around cannabis use.
Malawi legalised the growing and processing of cannabis for medicinal use last year, but stopped short of legalising it for personal use.
The country’s agriculture ministry has encouraged farmers to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes as well as hemp for industrial use.
A locally grown variety of cannabis – Malawi gold – is renowned by recreational users across the world.
The Centre for Public Accountability, a Malawian civil society group, criticised the latest move due to Tyson’s previous crimes.
The former boxer was jailed in 1992 after being convicted of rape in Indiana. He was released in 1995 after serving less than three years of his sentence.
“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,” the group’s acting director, Kondwani Munthali, said in a statement.