Malawi defends its decision to ask Mike Tyson to become the country’s cannabis ambassador

Malawi defends its decision to ask Mike Tyson to become the country’s cannabis ambassador

Malawi defends its decision to ask Mike Tyson to become the country’s cannabis ambassador—

The government of Malawi has defended its decision to ask the former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson to become the country’s official cannabis ambassador.

This week, Malawi’s agriculture minister Lobin Low sent a letter to Tyson, who is involved in the cannabis industry in the United States through numerous ventures, inviting him to become the face of the country’s cannabis industry in a bid to attract investors and tourism, according to CNN.

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Malawi legalized the growing and processing of cannabis for medicinal purposes last year.

The invite has raised controversy, with Malawi’s Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) accusing the government of ignoring Tyson’s criminal history.

The 55-year-old was sentenced to six years in jail in 1992 after being convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson, who is now a registered sex offender, served less than three years before being released.

Kondwani Munthali, acting director of the CPA, told CNN Friday that appointing a convicted rapist as Malawi’s cannabis ambassador would be “wrong.”

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“Yes he paid his debt three years he was in jail, but we are saying to be the face of a nation is something beyond reformatory,” she said. “We would want a less controversial character than Tyson.”

However, Gracian Lungu, a spokesperson for Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, dismissed Munthali’s criticism, telling CNN: “Malawi as a nation believes that Mr. Tyson is a right and reformed person as he was released on parole.”

He added: “The moral appeal by some quarters, to continue holding Mr. Tyson to a wall of moral incapacity doesn’t hold water.”

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Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Patricia Kaliati, echoed Lungu’s comments.

“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.”

In October, Tyson launched “Tyson 2.0” – a new company that will sell cannabis products across the US.

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