Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Sitting in a conference room at the Planet 13 dispensary, Mike Tyson talked proudly about his marijuana business interests and Las Vegas, the city that helped make him famous.
The former boxer was there Saturday to promote his Tyson Ranch line of cannabis products, which are for sale in Las Vegas at places including Planet 13, The Source, Jenny’s Dispensary, Jardin Cannabis and NuWu Cannabis Marketplace.
“Las Vegas is basically where I got my name,” said Tyson, who has a house here. “This is where it all started. I’m indebted to this town. I love this town.”
Tyson walked down a flight of stairs at Planet 13 and past a long line of fans waiting to greet him. Many cheered as Tyson appeared, invoking memories of the many times he was introduced before taking the ring on a Las Vegas fight night.
Planet 13 had a six-month contract to sell Tyson Ranch products exclusively in Nevada, though the arrangement recently expired.
“We were happy to have the exclusive rights to sell Tyson Ranch products in Nevada, but we’re also excited to see the brand continue to grow,” said David Farris, director of sales and marketing for Planet 13.
In addition to his appearance at Planet 13, Tyson made a public appearance at The Source dispensary in Henderson.
“The Tyson Ranch brand is wellness-minded and puts out high-quality products,” said Matthew Janz, a spokesman for The Source. “Their products are pesticide-free, and it’s a fun line of products. We’re always listening to our customers, and our customers know the Tyson name and what Mike Tyson has meant to Las Vegas, whether it’s boxing or 'The Hangover' franchise.”
Tyson had a small part in the first "Hangover" movie, which was set in Las Vegas.
Nowadays, Tyson, long a proponent of the benefits of cannabis, has traded fighting in the ring for fighting in the court of public opinion to help bring marijuana into the mainstream.
“We’re in the early stages, but you can see what’s happening,” Tyson said. “As a society — judges, lawyers, the government — they know this is the right thing to do. It’s always been the right thing to do, but we’ve been misinformed. (Cannabis) has to be legal. It’s medicine.”
Recreational use of cannabis became legal in Nevada in 2017. Under state law, taxes generated from cannabis sales are earmarked for Nevada schools.
Along with his brand of cannabis and CBD products, Tyson and his business partners have plans to open a marijuana resort — Tyson Ranch — on 400-plus acres in the Southern California desert, about 60 miles southwest of Death Valley National Park.
The resort is expected to be complete in 2022, according to a Tyson Ranch spokesman.
“What cannabis was perceived to be 20 years ago, that’s changed,” said Kevin Bell, one of Tyson’s business partners.
“Tyson Ranch is a brand, but it’s also a family. Most of our revenue actually comes from hemp. We really focus on CBD and hemp,” said Bell, noting that the company has a 40,000-square-foot hemp-extraction facility in Henderson.
Tyson said he has big plans for the Tyson Ranch brand.
“I think we’re going to change the way people look at cannabis,” Tyson said. “I believe implicitly in the power of cannabis and I want to be the face of cannabis in this town.”