Mike Tyson is disarmingly quiet to a man who was once nicknamed “The Baddest Man on the Planet”. Past a row of starlit spectators, his entourage escorted him to the location of Green Solution’s Union Station to attend to an important business: lunch. After a quick bite (a bison burger, one of the few meat dishes Tyson indulges in), the former heavyweight champion shows up in a sharp checkered suit and size 15 alligator slippers.
He introduces himself in a harsh whisper (as if he needs an introduction) and prepares to talk about his latest business venture: Tyson 2.0, his national cannabis brand, launched in Colorado pharmacies in November. We spoke to Iron Mike about vegan nibbles, psychedelic medicine, and how Tupac’s death drove him into the world of cannabis.
Westword: How long have you been a cannabis user?
Mike Tyson: I quit most of my life when I was eighteen … 1985 to 1998. Then I started smoking.
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What made you do it again?
I think I was depressed about Tupac or something and I went to one of his posthumous events. And that’s when I started smoking.
Why did you want to get into the commercial side?
It is different now. I was doing a movie for a certain producer and I think he was in the business and he wanted to get in the business with me, so we got in the business and started with Tyson Ranch. The deal between me and this partner didn’t work out so we went to Tyson 2.0. It was a breeze; That’s why I got involved for the first time. I’ve had so much success since joining Tyson 2.0. We just opened in sixteen states, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to Tyson 2.0.
What was the most surprising or interesting thing you learned while developing Tyson 2.0?
That you have to have the best quality. We have the best quality, we have the best taste, and we are at the forefront of the future of flowering in the cannabis game.
I know you like the flower itself, so what is your favorite thing to smoke: joints, blunts or glasses?
Joints or blunts.
What is your favorite Tyson 2.0 strain?
There are so many I like, but I love the Sweet Diesel and the Sonora Toad.
I know you value a healthy diet and lifestyle so what do you eat when you have the nibbles after smoking?
Mainly rice and beans. Could be an impossible burger. Might be a bison.
Are you still vegan?
No. I eat very little meat; probably 2 percent of my diet is meat.
What’s your favorite vegan dish?
I think it would be fried beans or hummus.
You met Chad Bronstein, CEO of Tyson 2.0, when you invested in his psychedelic health company Wesana. Would you ever think about adding psychedelic medicine to Tyson 2.0?
Absolutely – that’s the plan.
Mike Tyson arrives at the Green Solution in style.
Oh really? Is it just about getting legal?
Well, in some places it’s legal. You can’t stop the hurricane. It comes strong. It cannot be stopped. It’s God’s medicine.
Cannabis and psychedelic medicine are so stigmatized, especially for athletes.
Not with athletes – only with the organizations that pretty much control the athletes.
What made you want to try psychedelic medicine?
It was a bet. It was a bet and they really tricked me. Because if I had seen someone take it before I took it, I would never have taken it.
And what did you take
I took the sonoran toad and it changed my whole life. That’s why I’m doing this here. I am the face of it now. I took psychedelics. and now I am the face of psychedelics.
How do you think you can get more people to try things like cannabis and psychedelic medicine?
Well if you’ve seen hotboxin ‘my show then I challenge people and let people challenge themselves. You are going to another level of life that they have never tried before and that is dying. In ingesting the Sonoran Toad, part of you dies, that is your ego. This is the scariest, but also the most enlightening moment of your life when you experience the toad.
Who was your favorite guest you had on the podcast?
Look, I had the who’s who and stuff. There are so many different ones. Kamaru [Usman] was good. Tony Robbins was good. I’ve had some good ones.
Do you still breed birds
My whole life. That’s what I do. Wherever I live, I have it. They are called rolling pigeons.
Yes. Every now and then we catch a hawk trying to eat my birds and mistake it for a pet.
Final question: do you think you’ll ever get in the ring again?
God willing. I feel great. I train every day.