Malawi has invited American heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson to become a brand ambassador for the country’s burgeoning medical cannabis business in an effort to attract investment.
The request was included in a letter sent to Tyson earlier this month and obtained by AFP this week.
As a member of a national cannabis business group in the United States, Tyson is expected to contribute experience and assist launch mass production, but he has yet to reply to the proposal.
Malawi decriminalized cannabis for medical and industrial reasons in 2020, following in the footsteps of other African countries eager to capitalize on expanding industrial demand for hemp.
However, the business is failing to expand, hampered by high license fees and a dearth of investors and purchasers.
According to agricultural ministry spokeswoman Gracian Lungu, the government believes Tyson’s support would “attract some investors and perhaps potential purchasers.”
The retired professional boxer has long campaigned for cannabis legalization and this month established his own line of marijuana goods.
Tyson’s proposed appointment, however, has sparked debate, with a Malawian think group accusing the government of attempting to partner with a “sex offender.”
Tyson, 55, was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992. He received a six-year jail term and a four-year probation period. He was freed in 1995.
The Centre for Public Accountability said in a statement that it couldn’t “see why Malawi would wish to have a convicted rapist as its brand ambassador” amid government attempts to reduce violence against women. Lungu ignored their concerns, claiming that Tyson was on parole for good behavior and had committed no additional offenses.
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