From competitors to colleagues, these heavyweight champs once fought each other and now they are working together. Boxing champ Mike Tyson had already taken the cannabis industry by storm with his Tyson 2.0 company. Then he shook things up with his somewhat polarizing product Mike Bites – an infused gummy shaped like an ear.
The ear shape was based on the infamous bout where Tyson found himself challenged in the ring by Evander Holyfield, a 4-time World Heavyweight Champion of the World. Tyson, who was used to winning matches quickly, reacted in an unusual way. He bit Holyfield’s ear. It was massively controversial at the time, but the two managed to get past any bad feelings about the incident.
Some in the industry were amused by the ear-shaped gummies, pushing the product to be quite popular, while others saw no humor in the violent act. Either way, the person who supplied the ear, wasn’t sharing in the success of Mike Bites. That has changed.
Holyfield, who has never been a big cannabis consumer, is joining the Tyson 2.0 family of brands under a new title called Carma Holdings. They created TYSON 2.0 ‘Holy Ears’ THC and Delta 8 infused edibles which were launched in November. Plus Holyfield will have his own cannabis line in 2023 that will focus more on health and wellness. ‘Holy Ears’ are all natural, vegan and gluten free; and will be offered in THC, Delta 8 and other hemp-cannabinoid varieties.
Holyfield told Green Market Report that Tyson had given him a heads-up about the original ear product and continued to reach out about becoming more involved in creating a new product. While Tyson is an avid cannabis consumer, Holyfield says he prefers using cannabis as a sleep aid and typically is a low-dosage kind of consumer.
“Mike and I have a long history of competition and respect for one another. And that night changed both of our lives. Back then, we didn’t realize that even as power athletes, we were also in a lot of pain,” said Evander Holyfield. “Now, nearly 20 years later, we have the opportunity to share the medicine we really needed throughout our careers. I’m honored to join the Carma family and partner with Mike and the TYSON 2.0 team to launch Holy Ears, and soon my own line of cannabis products.”
Starting this November, Holy Ears THC edibles will be available through Verano retailers in Arizona, Illinois, Nevada and New Jersey. In partnership with LGNDS LLC., Delta 8 ‘Holy Ears’ edibles will be available for presale starting November 14th through the newly launched TYSON 2.0 global online marketplace TYSON20Global.com.
“Mike and Holyfield are an iconic matchup and both are equally dedicated to building the ultimate celebrity cannabis brand that best serves their fan bases,” said Chad Bronstein, Carma Holdings Chairman, TYSON 2.0 Co-Founder and President. “Our new partnership marks the development of Carma Holding’s third celebrity brand, further upholding our mission to provide accessible and high quality cannabis products for every type of consumer.”
Bronstein added that both Tyson and Holyfield will be avidly supporting the product. “Some celebrities just put their name on a product and then you never hear from them,” he said. “These guys are really involved and happy to meet with the public to show that they believe in these products.”
Bronstein also said that he felt the “bites” brought some fun back into cannabis. “Some of these brands are so serious. It’s cannabis. Let’s lighten up and bring back the fun,” he said.
The merriment continues as the two fighters teamed up for a hilarious holiday themed video.
TYSON 2.0, legendary boxer, entrepreneur and cannabis advocate Mike Tyson’s premium cannabis brand, and Ric Flair Drip, world-renowned pro-wrestler Ric Flair’s cannabis line, announced that they are joining forces under a new parent company, Carma Holdings LLC. Additionally, TYSON 2.0’s board of directors will transition to Carma, with the announcement of the addition of attorney Alex Spiro.
Co-founded and led by Mike Tyson, chief brand officer, Chad Bronstein, chairman and president, and Adam Wilks, chief executive officer, TYSON 2.0 and Ric Flair Drip have generated $50 million in revenue since launching one year ago and are forecasted to reach $160 million in revenue in 2023. Through a vast network of industry partners, including Columbia Care Inc., Verano Holdings (OTC: VRNOF) and HEXO Corp. (Nasdaq: HEXO), TYSON 2.0 and Ric Flair Drip products are now available at more than 1,000 retailers across 40 states and select provinces in Canada.
“Focused on providing high-quality cannabis and creating icon-inspired products that evoke deep consumer connection and deliver elevated experiences, Carma embodies the next generation of celebrity-driven brands committed to providing consumers with safe and effective products that appeal to a wide spectrum of tastes and consumption preferences,” Bronstein said. “By centralizing our branding, marketing and distribution efforts, TYSON 2.0, Ric Flair Drip, and the other game-changing brands in development, we will be able to scale faster to meet global consumer demand.”
In March 2022, Tyson 2.0 released the controversial “Mike Bites,” a cannabis-infused, ear-shaped edible with a bite mark – a nod to one of Tyson’s most iconic boxing matches with Evander Holyfield. The company said the demand for Mike Bites was so strong, it led it to launch new product categories this past October to include three hemp-derived verticals: Delta-8, Delta-9, and CBD offered through an online global marketplace.
“Carma Holdings is a testament to our hard work and dedication to developing brands like TYSON 2.0 and Ric Flair Drip that resonate with our fans,” Tyson said. “Carma has changed the celebrity cannabis space forever, and I look forward to collaborating with our growing team of partners so that more people can experience the healing benefits of plant medicine.”
The Daily Hit is a recap of cannabis business news for August 18, 2022.
ON THE SITE
Ayr Wellness Raises Guidance Despite Headwinds
Ayr Wellness Inc. (OTCQX: AYRWF) hiked its outlook for the year on Thursday despite posting results that missed expectations — as sales slip and losses rise. The multi-state operator reported financial results for the first quarter ending June 30, 2022. Read more here.
Decibel Sees Record Revenue, Preps for Exports to Israel
Decibel Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX-V: DB) (OTCQB: DBCCF) posted promising results as it continues to find gains in the Canadian market and overseas. The Alberta-based company delivered its financial report card using Canadian dollars in the period ending June 30, 2022. Read more here.
Medical Marijuana Sales Slip in the Second Quarter
Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC: MJNA) reported $7.8 million in net revenue in the second quarter of 2022. This fell from last year’s revenue of $9.6 million for the same time period in 2021. The company also reported a net loss of $11 million versus last year’s net income of $7 million. Read more here.
JuicyFields Ponzi Scheme Highlights Many Points of Failure
Like the plot of an improbable fintech thriller, cannabis e-investment conglomerate JuicyFields has imploded into an apparent Ponzi scheme of massive proportions, leaving tens of thousands of online investors wondering who is responsible for the biggest swindle in cannabis. Read more here.
Americans Perception of Psychedelics is Shifting
The science of psychedelics continues to validate what clinicians have known for years about the benefits in treating mental health. Over the last 30 years, the science of psychedelics has accelerated and continues to validate what clinicians have known for years about the benefits of psychedelics in treating mental health and wellness. Read more here.
IN OTHER NEWS
High Tide Inc.
High Tide Inc. (Nasdaq: HITI) (TSXV: HITI) (FSE: 2LYA), a retail-focused cannabis company with bricks-and-mortar as well as global e-commerce assets, announced today that it has entered into a binding commitment letter with Connect First Credit Union Ltd. for a $19 million credit facility with an initial 5-year term, at connectFirst’s floor interest rate. Read more here.
PuraVerde, Inc., a cannabis company and operator, today announced the launch of its streamlined Regulation A, Tier 2 public offering for both un-accredited and accredited investors. Driving innovative research and development, PuraVerde is formulating products for the future of commercial cannabis. Read more here.
TYSON 2.0, Verano Holdings Corp.
TYSON 2.0, legendary boxer, entrepreneur, and cannabis advocate Mike Tyson’s cannabis company today announced the launch of its Ric Flair Drip Cannabis line in partnership with Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF), a multi-state cannabis company. Read more here.
Zen Leaf Dispensary
Workers at the Verano/Zen Leaf Dispensary in the neighborhood of Pilsen have voted by a margin of more than 90% to join Teamsters Local 777. The vote in favor of unionization comes in spite of the fact that the company fired union supporters during the campaign. Read more here.
Small Pharma Inc.
Small Pharma Inc. (TSXV: DMT) (OTCQB: DMTTF), a biotechnology company focused on short-acting psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental health conditions, today announced that the TSX Venture Exchange has accepted the company’s application for its normal course issuer bid for up to five million common shares in the capital of the company, representing 1.55% of the issued and outstanding shares, over a 12-month period. Read more here.
Bright Minds Biosciences
Bright Minds Biosciences (Nasdaq: DRUG) (CSE: DRUG), a biotechnology company focused on developing novel drugs for targeted treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, epilepsy and pain, issued this news release in response to a request by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) to comment on recent trading activity of its stock. Read more here.
Cannabis advocate and former boxer Mike Tyson’s cannabis brand Tyson 2.0 announced the close of its oversubscribed $9 Million Series A round led by JW Asset Management. Additional investors in the round include K2, Ambria Capital, Tress Capital, and Patrick Carroll. The company said that the new funds will be used to acquire more celebrity intellectual property, scale marketing efforts, accelerate distribution, and further invest in the development of Tyson 2.0’s house of brands strategy.
Tyson 2.0 Co-founder, President and Chairman, Chad Bronstein said, “Mike Tyson and our team believed early on that building high-quality cannabis brands and products backed by A-list celebrities would be a winning combination. Our model has shown early validation with robust sales and expansion of the brand to more than 20 states including several of the world’s leading operators. The next step in our journey will require us to put more capital to work, and I couldn’t think of a better set of partners than the group of investors we have assembled, highlighted by Jason Wild and the team at JW Asset Management.”
In addition to raising the capital, Tyson 2.0 announced the appointment of Nicole Cosby as its Chief Legal and Licensing Officer. Cosby also served as Chief Data and Compliance Officer of Fyllo Group and prior to this, held the position of Senior Vice President of Standards at Publicis Group. Cosby is an attorney by trade and has a background in digital advertising/data policy and brand strategy/licensing.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with and knowing Chad and Adam for many years. I am impressed with how quickly they have scaled the business becoming one of the leading national cannabis brands on the market today. With the ability to develop additional products from celebrities like Mike Tyson, Ric Flair, and more to come, I am confident the strong momentum can continue,” said Jason Wild, President and Chief Investment Officer, JW Asset Management.
Bronstein concluded, “This is just the beginning, Tyson 2.0 is being sought out by some of the hottest pop culture icons who are cannabis advocates and users, and want the opportunity to share their love of the plant with their fans.”
Earlier this month, Tyson 2.0 said that a collaboration with Mammoth Labs has resulted in its cannabis products being available at sixteen dispensaries across the state of Washington. Tyson 2.0 products will be in dispensaries including Cannabis & Glass, Herbery, Zips, The FireHouse and The Station locations starting June 2. Through its production partnership with Washington-based Mammoth Labs, Tyson 2.0 premium products offered will include eighths (3.5g) jars of flower in Desert Toad, Southern Toad, Tiger Mintz and Dynamite Cookie; and exclusive concentrates: diamonds and sauce in Viper Cookies, Orange Punch, Cake Crasher; and badder in Southern Toad.
“Tyson 2.0 x Mammoth Labs products will pack twice the punch for Washington cannabis consumers with our high THC strains and superior terpene profiles,” said Mike Tyson, Chief Brand Officer and Co-Founder of Tyson 2.0. “Cannabis of this craft can truly elevate the mind and spirit. I look forward to sharing my cannabis healing journey with fans across Washington.”
Green Market Report recently attended the Wonderland Psychedelic Business Conference in Miami Florida, where we had the opportunity to talk to former professional boxer Mike Tyson. Tyson is currently the Chief Brand Officer at Tyson 2.0, his expanded cannabis company that was born out of Tyson Ranch. Tyson is now a big supporter of the use of psychedelic compounds to treat depression and other conditions. He has also invested in the psychedelic medicine company Wesana Health (OTC: WSNAF). Tyson says psychedelics has turned him into a different person and he’s a changed man – for the better.
Advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. In most U.S. states where cannabis is legal, rules regarding cannabis advertising are complicated and extremely restrictive. For example, in California, businesses can only run ads in areas where “71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.” The advertising landscape online is even far less forgiving. Most online ads platforms, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, explicitly prohibit the advertisement of cannabis products.
In the absence of reasonable advertising regulations for the cannabis industry, many business owners have turned to a new and rapidly growing form of advertisement: Social Media Influencers.
What is a Social Media Influencer?
A social media influencer is a person that uses their large social media following (which can range thousands to millions of followers) to promote certain products or services. Outside of the cannabis industry, one of the most successful social media influencers is Kylie Jenner, who companies will often pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for single social media post promoting their product.
Does Influencer Marketing Work?
While some may balk at the idea of paying a person thousands of dollars to promote a product on Instagram, the numbers do not lie – influencer marketing works. Approximately 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Companies that use influencer marketing earn on average $6.50 for every dollar spent. By 2020, the influencer market is expected to grow to $10 billion.
Why Are Cannabis Companies Turning to Influencers?
As alluded to earlier, advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. Not only are advertising regulations for cannabis complex, but also traditional means of advertisements are expensive. Buying ad space on television, radio, or a billboard can cost companies thousands of dollars with little guarantee of success. In contrast, influencer marketing is loosely regulated (for now) and less expensive.
It is also easier to target specific demographics by relying on influencers that appeal to your core audience. Cannabis business owners may not know who is going to view their highway billboard, but they do know what kind of person is going to visit Snoop Dogg’s Instagram page.
Who Are The Leading Cannabis Influencers?
The question of who the cannabis industry’s leading influencers are is a topic for debate. Unlike other industries where the practice more prevalent, influencer marketing in the cannabis industry is still relatively new. Consequently, it is difficult to say who is the “top cannabis influencer.” However, there are at least a few cannabis influencers that stand out from the pack. Here’s five cannabis influencer that have turned their social media following into big business:
Comedian Seth Rogen has built a career off of starring in stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and This Is The End, so it is only natural that he would use his talent and fame to spread the word about cannabis. With 6.6 million followers on Instagram, Rogen might not be the world’s most widely followed celebrity, but he has built up a strong and loyal social media following. Hoping to capitalize off of his reputation as a cannabis connoisseur, Rogen and his fried/business partner Evan Goldberg have teamed up with the world’s largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, to launch a new hemp and cannabis company called Houseplant. Understanding the power of social media, Rogen announced the brand by leaving a cryptic message asking people to follow the Houseplant’s Instagram page.
Not content to be the World Heavy Champion of Boxing, sports legend Mike Tyson has dived headfirst into the cannabis industry. Like Seth Rogen, Tyson has leveraged his fame to turn himself into one of the industry’s leading advocate. Tyson has partnered with the upscale cannabis dispensary Planet 13 to be the exclusive launch partner of his 40-acre cannabis resort, dubbed Tyson Ranch. In addition to Tyson’s 7.6 million Instagram followers, Tyson has a popular cannabis podcast called Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, which has close to 90,000 followers.
“Tyson Ranch, consists of a team with 100+ years of industry experience focusing on quality to make premium cannabis products. We are all about going the extra step to offer truly great cannabis. The Planet 13 Cannabis Entertainment Complex offers customers an ultra-premium cannabis experience that dovetails perfectly with Tyson Ranch’s belief that not all cannabis is created equally,” said MikeTyson.
Dan Bilzerian, owner of the cannabis brand Ignite, is perhaps one of the biggest influencers in the cannabis industry. Often a polarizing figure within the industry, Bilzerian’s social media pages are filled with bikini-clad models in various states of undress, exotic locations, and more often than naught firearms. While some may characterize his social media presence as the epitome of toxic masculinity, with more than 26 million followers on Instagram, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have a strong following.
Bilzerian became one of the world’s most successful professional poker players, winning over $50 million in a single year. Despite not adhering to any social norms — and continuing to be unapologetically himself — he developed a reputation within the gambling community for always doing what he said he would do, a mindset that he’s carried with him into numerous investment opportunities, business ventures, and personal pursuits — creating an empire. Now, he’s dedicated to building a brand in the cannabis industry to live the Ignite lifestyle.
Michael Straumietis, also known as Big Mike, is the CEO of the cannabis fertilizer company Advanced Nutrients. Straumietis has built a career off of developing cannabis-specific nutrients and has leveraged that fame into an Instagram following of almost 3 million. Unlike Dan Bilzerian, Straumietis positions himself more as a cannabis thought leader than a globe-trotting playboy.
In 1996, BigMike took $25,000 he’d made from a small illegal grow in Temecula, California, snuck into Canada with a fake passport and built a growing organization 200 people strong. He then used his growing and business expertise to start his company, Advanced Nutrients. Today, Advanced Nutrients is the maker of the #1 selling cannabis-specific nutrient line in the world, with over $110 million a year in sales from 93 countries. Advanced Nutrients also lends seed money to individuals in developing countries who dream of starting a small business, but lack the means to do so. BigMike‘s charity Holiday Heroes feeds over 30 thousand people in need, each Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Charlo Greene is a former journalist turned cannabis entrepreneur that gained overnight fame after she announced live on television that she was quitting her job to pursue a career in cannabis. Greene is a somewhat controversial figure in the cannabis industry after running afoul of regulators in Alaska for launching eponymously named Alaska Cannabis Club. With approximately 214,000 followers on Instagram, Greene is what is called a “Micro-Influencer,” which is someone that has a small but dedicated social media following. Nevertheless, Greene has carved out a niche for herself in both the cannabis industry and the wider entrepreneurial community.
The world of cannabis influencers may still be new, but it is rapidly developing. Even if cannabis advertising regulations relax over the coming years, don’t expect cannabis influencers to go away. Influencer marketing is an incredibly powerful form of advertising, regardless of the industry.
The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis