The Tyson Ranch: Mike Tyson’s Cannabis Resort

If you are a cannabis-enthusiast, then there is no reason why you should not experience it at its best in the Tyson Ranch. Yes, this is the all-new venture by the celebrated boxer of his time and today – Mike Tyson. He has channelled his love for cannabis and created this resort near Desert Hot Springs in California.

Well, The Tyson Ranch is not the first venture that Mike Tyson got into related to cannabis; he has a successful cannabis company under the brand name – Tyson Holistic. It is one of the 10,000 new cannabis-based businesses which came into being after the legalization of cannabis in the state of California in 2016. As estimated, the cannabis industry is expected to gain a net worth of 4 billion in California by 2025. And Tyson Holistic is striving to be a major stakeholder by introducing different cannabis derivative-based products into the market. They are releasing all types of products such as (Hemp oil enhanced muscle rub) as well as dogs (CBD Dog Treats). However, with the potential that the legalization of cannabis holds, Tyson could not stop at this. Soon, Mike Tyson changed the name of the Tyson Holistic to The Ranch Companies, which owns and operates the Tyson Ranch.

Brains Behind the Idea

The Tyson Ranch is a cannabis resort in California, spread across 418 acres in the middle of the desert, a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles(hoping the traffic is good). Soon to be introduced to the public, the Tyson Ranch might feature an amphitheatre for concerts, a luxury hotel, retail stores, glamping facilities, and a full-fledged Tyson University where world-class scientists will introduce cannabis cultivation techniques to future farmers. Well, this shows how much trust they have put into cannabis growth in the future. In addition to the features mentioned above, the Ranch is supposed to have the world’s longest Lazy River which will let the individual float in it for 1 hour at one stretch. What better way can one think of for enjoying the effects of quality cannabis!

Once you are in the Ranch, you can smoke freely everywhere, except for the areas reserved for liquor sales, where the legalities ban the use of cannabis. However, no weed will be grown on the premises. Then again, the Ranch might partner with some of the leading cannabis brands for opening retail outlets in the resort in a similar fashion as casinos rent out space to Starbucks.

Despite the entire business model being based on recreational cannabis, the catch here is that none of it is grown or cultivated here. No actual cannabis plants can be spotted here. What you can get here is, in fact, the Tyson Ranch containers which are all inspected. All the cannabis that reaches here, is tested for quality. All the third party growers that can make the cannabis available here will have to comply with strict quality standards of purity to get their product into the Tyson Ranch. “We’re not burdened with bad crops. We’re not burdened with legalities. We’re selling paper. Packaging. And market share.” As Hickman puts it in an interview with GQ.

Another mind behind the birth of the Ranch is Kevin Bell, Tyson Holistic’s Chief Operating Officer. He has been in the industry since 1989, even before cannabis was legalized. After starting the first hydroponics supply store catering to the growers working in the east of Mississippi, he went into looking for opportunities in Amsterdam. Then, he moved to California as soon as the legalization of cannabis began in the state. Here, he studied various opportunities and discovered the difficulties involved in profiting from the cannabis business in America. When talking in an interview he discusses how the market in the US is becoming more difficult to deal with as time passes. He sat across Hickman to negotiate a deal for the plot he was selling to the land the Tyson Ranch was built on. Unfortunately, the land deal could not happen. However, Bell found a consulting job with Hickman and not more than a couple of days later, and he found himself smoking a joint next to Jean-Claude Van Damme himself!

A Sitcom Based on Tyson Ranch

They have already shot a television pilot for Tyson Holistic, which has the potential to be a big hit. However traditional television has very strict rules when it comes to advertising cannabis. Instead, they have planned a sitcom which will be loosely based upon Tyson’s life and how he manages to start and run a company with a bunch of knuckleheads. They have approached Maya Rudolph to play the role of Tyson’s ex-wife already. Apart from her, the roles of Tyson’s friends will be taken up by his real-life friends themselves.

Beginning of a New Partnership

Hickman is a man who has seen it all. Whenever you spot him, he is seldom without a fizzy drink from the gas station. He started as a businessman who launched an Internet service provider with Jerry Weintraub. He is also listed as the former president of the George Foreman Foods on his IMDb page. His life took a major turn when he decided to produce a movie, in which he lost 4.5 million dollars. This event led to a life of constant personal and professional struggle, where all he remembers himself doing is singing karaoke under the effect of alcohol. It was only after he encountered MRSA, a staph infection and heard that he was given last rites, he woke up. Well, according to him, “When you get your last rites, it kind of makes you really get your shit in order.” I cannot agree more!

What followed was a complete overhaul of Hickman’s health. He was put off the booze and other pharmaceuticals. A naturopath introduced him to medical-grade derivatives of cannabis which helped him get back to his real self again. Later, he decided to channel his recovery to do something fruitful and went back to producing movies such as Kickboxer: Vengeance. In the film, he came across; who he calls the “lifetime pain endurance expert,” Mike Tyson.

When Hickman realized that Tyson is a dedicated cannabis user too, he knew he had a story that can be shared with the world. Well, who doesn’t know about Tyson’s past with substance abuse? However, what inspires the spark in the boxer and part-time actor is that he put his destructive past behind and learnt to live a fuller life with his family. Once Hickman discovered the spark in Tyson which he needed to give his ventures a boost, he supported him in every way. That made their partnership unstoppable and resulted in what we can see today, the Tyson Ranch.

The Kind Festival

As the laws in California changed, a brand-new industry seemed to establish its foothold on the land and gave rise to a whole new class of industrialists. They were all struggling to separate cannabis from the word- drug and reinstating its meaning and purpose as a recreational substance with perceived medicinal benefits. Well, the cannabis industry has not only expanded as a mode of trade but has successfully reintroduced the new and “chill” Mike Tyson to the world.

It was in February this year that the partners decided to spread the word about their venture in Palm Springs with a Kind Festival. Here, the influencers, performers, and the hard-faced bikers interacted and mingled on what can be called an artificial grass that covered the hot lands.

It was a sort of Mike Tyson weed festival with a giant inflatable heart to welcome the guests at the entrance. Needless to say, the heart had Mike Tyson’s face on it which depicted a charity raffle according to which the winner will get to relax and smoke cannabis with the Man Himself! Well, that’s not all, there was another raffle where the winner could win a limited edition Harley, personalized for Mike Tyson, again. It was indeed a fun event, or as they call it – “Mike’s Act of Kindness” with people jiving while munching on their favourite chicken stripes and corn rolled in Hot Cheetos.

The Kind Festival, in itself, is a name that signifies generosity and consideration. At the same time, it announces an elite event that was attended by a flamboyant crowd.

During the lazy afternoon hours, when everyone has grabbed a bean-bag to space-out for a bit under the sun; the DJ announces that “Mike Tyson’s building a whole ranch out here, y’all!” And there is no reason not to tell them about the longest lazy river it is going to sport. After all, what more do you need when you have some quality cannabis to smoke?

Building the Dream

When attending meetings with architects for the Tyson Ranch, they discussed the outside financing for the project. The initial phases of the project were personally funded by Mike Tyson and his two other partners. Mike knew that considering the length of the project, the partners might exit within a couple of years, and he should keep looking for new sources of financing until the profits start pouring in.

However, they were never short of offers as the big private equity firms were ready to offer them staggering sums of money. Now, as Hickman told the GQ, they are planning to build another Tyson Ranch on the borders of Florida and Georgia. However, this might seem quite far-fetched because both the states have no legalized recreational cannabis yet.