Mike Tyson's company wants to bring hemp growing business to West Virginia

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Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson's company, Tyson Holistic Holdings, LLC., has come to West Virginia hoping to grow cannabidiol hemp.

Tyson's team is interested in growing hemp and other crops such as lavender and soy on reclaimed coal mine lands, officials from the company said. A presentation was held by officials with both Tyson's company and a West Virginia business in collaboration with Tyson's company Monday morning in Charleston. The presentation can be viewed below:

Tyson's team members currently are working to educate people in their plan to grow and how they say it can help the opioid epidemic in the area. The hope is also to help West Virginia's economy by growing hemp and using it as a medical source.

"Listen, turn the faucet on, let's help people, let's grow stuff that can help people,” Rob Hickman, founder and CEO of Tyson Holistics said. “Forget the big pharma, forget all the nonsense and let's try to help stimulate the economy a little bit. We can start here and it can keep growing."

Officials with Tyson Holistics hope to work with the West Virginia hemp program to move forward. Officials also said they are currently looking for licensed farmers to work with.

During the presentation Monday, Danny Bragg with West Virginia's Green is the New Black presented a business plan to Tyson's company. Bragg said his business was contacted about six weeks ago from Tyson Holistics expressing interest in collaborating to grow cannabidiol hemp in West Virginia.

Bragg said Tyson Holistics will see small growth in hemp this year, but the big boom of growing the product will be in 2019.

"You will see hundreds or thousands of acres growing throughout the state," Bragg said.

From June to December, they plan to identify mine sites with which to work. Currently, West Virginia has 4,298 registered strip mine sites both active and inactive, officials said. By January, they plan on acquiring potential sites.

While most land in the state is steep and not applicable for the proper machinery to run on, mines can provide a preferable site for industrial agriculture because workers can get heavy equipment out there, officials said.

Tyson is currently working with a 350,000-square-foot site in Flemington in Taylor County.

Tyson's company owns a 40-acre marijuana ranch in California but this would be the first state where the company grows hemp.

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