Mike Tyson has announced plans to bring his marijuana empire to the Caribbean with an annual conference in Antigua to rival the World Economic Forum’s meeting at Davos.
The former heavyweight champion met with Prime Minister Gaston Browne to discuss plans for an annual conference starting in April 2020 and a cannabis farm.
Tyson is pioneering cannabis tourism with his 420 acre Tyson Ranch in California, which will feature a luxury hotel and golf course for guests to enjoy while lighting up.
Iron Mike said he wanted Antigua and Barbuda to become a ‘powerhouse’ for the plant and told reporters on September 20: ‘It will be good for the country and will bring in much-needed funds to help your economy.’
Antigua and Barbuda is still reeling from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and relies on money from tourism to help rebuild its communities.
Sitting alongside the fighter, Prime Minister Browne, said: ‘[The conference] will be like the Davos of cannabis; it will take place on an annual basis and will bring stakeholders from throughout the globe for that matter right here on Antigua to discuss various opportunities within the industry.
‘So, we are very excited about that. They are also interested in establishing a hotel accommodation property and they will be looking at a number of sites to determine suitability.’
One of Tyson’s colleagues said Antigua was chosen for its hospitality, beauty, location, and history.
The boxer owns Tyson Holistic Holdings, which he created in 2016. As well as building the ranch, it sells marijuana strains, edibles, and merchandise.
After scouting out the possible opportunities in Antigua and Barbuda, a concrete plan will be established between Tyson and the government.
‘We have a lot of tourist coming from Europe, especially the United Kingdom market and we think that is a wonderful idea which will help bring in more and more visitors to our island who will want to explore the cannabis farms,’ a tourism official said.
‘Our tourism numbers are falling and anything we can do to promote and help bring in the tourists should be welcomed.
‘We depend heavily on tourism which helps create employment for our people. We are grateful to Mike Tyson for coming to the rescue.’
Tyson’s California ranch broke ground in December 2017 but is yet to be completed.
Along with glamping tents and an amphitheatre for concerts, there are plans for the world’s longest lazy river.
There will even be a Tyson University to teach cannabis-cultivation techniques to future farmers.
‘I thought about how much good I could do by helping people with cannabis. It was a no-brainer,’ Tyson said.
Following Tyson’s boxing career he endured years of substance abuse and says cannabis helped him come out of his rut.
‘It changed his life. He’s the perfect person,’ Tyson’s business partner Rob Hickman said on their partnership in an interview with GQ.
In October last year the company had a full-fledged map plan for the elaborate ranch, however it’s not clear just how much progress has been made.
Tyson says the vision is to educate and engage the public in the healing properties of cannabis and CBD.
Attendants will be allowed to smoke anywhere in the park, except for areas where liquor is sold.
Despite becoming the head of a weed empire, Tyson doesn’t actually grow or produce any of the marijuana himself.
Instead it’s all sourced and inspected to reach his high standards and is given Tyson’s seal of approval.
His strains must be cultivated indoors, harvested based on maturity, cured over 30 days to ensure natural flavornoids, naturally derived, hand trimmed, pesticide-free and lab tested, according to the Tyson Holistic website.
Tyson’s put his lucrative name on various strains of marijuana, expanded into CBD dog treats, and hemp-oil muscle rub.
Though the resort is yet to fully come to life, Tyson has already rolled out music festivals at the site.
In February hundreds of people gathered outside Palm Springs on the site of the resort for the inaugural Kind Festival where Miguel and A$AP Ferg performed.
Revelers enjoyed smoking with Tyson, the music, and had a taste of what the future ranch would host.