BOARDROOM SPOTLIGHT

Mike Tyson Imagines the Future of Cannabis

Iron Mike talks to Boardroom about Tyson 2.0 and the benefits of cannabis, both for athletes and in everyday life.

As one of the most recognizable men on the planet and one of the greatest boxers to ever live, Mike Tyson has seemingly done it all.

He’s been the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, WWE Hall of Fame, and Las Vegas Hall of Fame. Most probably remember his role in The Hangover, or on the other end of the spectrum, recall his prison term and bankruptcy filing. But however you know him, there’s no denying that Iron Mike has had more than his fair share of highs and lows.

Through it all, the 56-year-old Brooklyn native has found stability in cannabis. And last fall, Tyson, with the help of CEO Adam Wilks and business partner Chad Bronstein, started a premier cannabis brand called Tyson 2.0.

From flower, concentrates and edibles like the ear-shaped Mike Bites that went viral earlier this year, Tyson 2.0 is active in 13 U.S. states and in Canada, and is rapidly expanding its reach. On June 30, the company announced the closing of an oversubscribed $9 million Series A round led by JW Asset Management. It also recently collaborated with Stündenglass, the world’s first gravity-powered infuser to elevate daily consumption.

“Not only was it not intrusive to the lungs, I thought it was just awesome to have at a party,” Tyson told Boardroom. “It was just so sophisticated. You can turn it up, turn it around, and smoke it. It’s gonna be the future of cannabis because it’s pretty much a party pipe.”

In a wide-ranging Q&A over Zoom, Tyson discussed his burgeoning brand, cannabis in mainstream professional sports, psychedelics, the current state of boxing, and more. The interview was edited for length and clarity.

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Shlomo Sprung: How did you get into the cannabis business?

Mike Tyson: I never in a million years thought I would ever be in the cannabis business. My brother-in-law was discussing it with me, but I never believed that we could do it. But then we met Adam and then we met Chad and it was a no-brainer ever since. They set bar once they got involved. They accomplished in one year what my other Tyson brand did in four years. So it was a no brainer. We’re with the best team in the world.

SS: How much did you use it over your career and how long ago did you know that this was something that everyone should use?

MT: I only fought once under the  influence of cannabis. I never used it during my career, but I wish I had. And I think I’d say it is doing pretty well now. Because if you ask my family how do they prefer me, with cannabis or without cannabis, they will 100% tell you Mike smoking cannabis is the best Mike over the Mike in the years without it. And that’s just what it is. And I don’t want to say I’m hooked on some drug, but I’m hooked to some medicine that makes me reach my highest potential.

SS: Whose idea was it to have the edible ears? 

MT: My wife Kiki, she has great ingenuity and she put that together. Most of the stuff that’s put together creatively is done by my wife, myself, and my brother-in-law. We work as a team. We are pretty positive people and we believe that we put the most in our product as far as our time and our efforts, so I guess we expect a lot. I’m also looking forward to working on some kind of cannabis gum and edible ear lollipops.

SS: Back in March, Tyson 2.0 bought the IP to launch cannabis flower and edible products under Ric Flair’s brand name. How has that partnership progressed?

MT: Me and Mr. Flair were inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame at the same time, and I worked with him in WWE. He’s a living legend and just to be working with him is just a privilege. He’s a beautiful human being. He’s beautiful, he’s kind, he’s lovely. And he has the best product.

SS: Obviously, the use of cannabis is a big subject in sports among the NBA, NFL, NHL, and boxing. What do you think about cannabis and its potential for both recreational use and therapeutic use in those sports? 

MT: I just don’t think you can go wrong with it. The worst you can do is eat somebody’s food and your food bill goes up. That’s the worst that’s going to happen, you know? And it gives you so many great qualities like relaxation and calmness. When you are one of those guys that has anxiety, you smoke a joint or take an edible or whatever you prefer. And you’re totally a different person.

 SS: How did you first get into psychedelics? 

MT: It was a buddy of mine who blew my mind. He said ‘I can give you something where you’ll never do drugs again,’ the cocaine, all that stuff. It was called DMT. I tried that and I changed my whole life. I lost 100 pounds. I fought with Roy Jones and had the biggest PPV that year. A lot of good things happened to me. So ever since then, I’ve been pro psychedelic. It helped me reach some points of my highest potential. I’m a big fan of it. You can’t go wrong. I don’t think you can go wrong with it.

SS: You’re on the record discussing your experiences with DMT. What did you see when you first did it?

MT: There’s a bunch of wonderful things, things that I can’t even articulate. Just being in places, feeling them. You feel them so much you can see it, you know? Just the energy that’s going on and just who you came from, who your ancestors are. It’s just really mind-boggling. It’s very hard to articulate, but it’s the power that you feel and the love of existing. You realize the power of love and everything.

SS: What do you think about the current state of boxing?

MT: Boxing should be held as the most distinguished sport because these guys, they need protection. Fighters need protection and things like pensions. The state of boxing is horrible because very few boxers are going to be paid a lot of money and nobody promotes them. They just don’t have the proper promotion. The fighters are all great, but I just think boxers need pensions.

SS: Do you think some kind of boxers union would help that?

MT: The boxing people, the promoters, they don’t want to hear no union shit. But boxers need somebody to protect them, have their back, and look out for them. But even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. It’s just too much of a monopoly and a smash-and-grab business.

SS: Is that tough to see?

MT: It’s tough to see because it could be changed. It wouldn’t be that bad if this is always the way it was. It could never be changed.

SS: As cannabis approaches some level of legal availability across the country, what do you see for the future of the cannabis industry?

MT: I see the future for the cannabis business being bought in a grocery store or smoke shops all over the country. Hemp and cannabis would be superfoods. My objective is to make them superfoods, keep the fight going.

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