Mike Tyson’s reputation has impacted his cannabis brand from entering the Canadian market.
The heavyweight champion’s cannabis brand, Tyson 2.0, partnered with Hexo Corp. to get his products into the Canadian market. However, some significant barriers prevent Mike Tyson-branded products from getting onto dispensary shelves across the country, MJ Biz reports. Provincial wholesalers in Canada, specifically Alberta and Quebec, have stopped Tyson 2.0 from entering retail adult-use stores.
There are a few reasons for this apparent ban on Tyson’s weed brand. Alberta cited federal laws prohibit celebrity-endorsed products from entering the shelves. A rep for Quebec’s Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) explained that Hexo receives similar treatment to any other brand. Still, they added that they didn’t want to be “associated with his image,” though they didn’t clarify what image exactly.
Tyson’s reputation through the 90s continues to have consequences today. In 1992, the former heavyweight boxer was convicted of rape and served three of his six-year sentence before the judge granted parole. The Nevada State Athletic Commission also sanctioned him in 1997 after infamously biting Evander Holyfield’s ear — the inspiration behind the shape of his edibles.e
While the controversy surrounding Mike Tyson could potentially hinder any deals in Canada, it’s not unlike other celebrities who’ve tried to enter the market. Several prominent stars removed their names from products in the past few years or ended their partnerships ultimately. Drake’s More Life Growth and Seth Rogen’s Houseplant ended their deals with Canopy due to the celebrity branding clause. In partnership with Canopy, Snoop Dogg’s Leafs By Snoop also needed to be revised before coming into Canada.
Still, there’s hope Tyson 2.0 products could enter other provinces. Hexo remains optimistic about their partnership with Tyson, despite the controversy some might attach to him. They explained that he’s a perfect figure to help enlighten their clients on the benefits of cannabis in managing stress, anxiety, and physical pain. In turn, they believe it can play a role in improving “the overall mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of our customers.”
It’s still on pace to launch this fall in Canada, but places like BC and Newfoundland have yet to review these items. Regardless, Hexo says consumers will find the product on shelves as they commit to remaining compliant with Canada’s Cannabis Act.
In partnership with Columbia Care, Tyson 2.0 has been a success across America since its launch. Last year, it received $9M in funding and secured a rollout with Ric Flair earlier this year.