Malawi’s agriculture ministry has sent an offer to marijuana entrepreneur Mike Tyson to become an ambassador for the southeastern African country’s cannabis crop, BBC reported. The retired boxing legend currently runs a marijuana farm in California.
Last year, Face2Face Africa reported that Malawi was set to start the commercial production of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use. The country’s agriculture minister, Lobin Lowe, said last year’s cannabis legislation had opened up avenues both domestically and internationally.
The ministry also said the deal to have Tyson, 55, come on board as a brand ambassador was being facilitated by the United States Cannabis Association.
“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 wrote in the offer letter to Tyson.
Local news outlets reported the former world boxing heavyweight champion was due to arrive in the country last week, but his trip was pushed back. Recreational smokers reportedly tout cannabis from Malawi as one of the best. A strain by the name “Malawi Gold” is widely popular.
The cultivation and processing of cannabis for medicines and hemp fiber used in industry were made legal by Malawi’s parliament in a new bill last year. However, the bill did not decriminalize the recreational use of cannabis in the country.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, offering nearly 80 percent of employment to the population. Tobacco is the country’s major export, however, earnings from tobacco have fallen dramatically over the years in part due to declining demand and poor weather.
During the 2020 season, Malawi’s tobacco output fell by 31.3 percent, resulting in a 26.4 percent decline in the country’s overall tobacco revenues.
The economic potential of the fast-growing global medicinal and industrial cannabis industry has been the main driver of the law change in Malawi, according to The Guardian.
And as attitudes towards cannabis change, a growing number of countries around the world are either legalizing or relaxing laws on the drug. They include several in southern Africa, including Zambia, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.