More than 25 years ago, former professional boxer Mike Tyson caused quite a stir in the sports world when he bit off a part of competitor Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match in Las Vegas.
Some candymakers later capitalized on the moment by selling ear-shaped chocolates with bites taken out of them. Now, Tyson is doing the same by selling marijuana edibles in the same shape called “Mike Bites.”
“We promise they’ll taste better than the real thing…or at least that’s what Mike tells us,” the product description for Mike Bites says.
Tyson recently debuted the ear-shaped edibles in New Jersey pot shops over Labor Day weekend. Earlier this summer, Tyson’s cannabis brand also made its way to Arizona, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
After the product officially launched in March 2022, some headlines and people on social media claimed that the boxing legend’s marijuana gummies are banned in Colorado due a state law against selling human-shaped edibles.
Does a Colorado law prohibit Mike Tyson from selling his ear-shaped edibles in the state?
Yes, a Colorado law prohibits Mike Tyson from selling his ear-shaped edibles in the state.
WHAT WE FOUND
A Colorado law passed in 2016 prohibits the “production and sale of edible medical marijuana-infused products that are in the distinct shape of a human, animal, or fruit.” The law doesn’t apply to edibles that are in the shape of marijuana leaves.
The state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division told VERIFY that the law was passed “to prevent accidental consumption” of marijuana edibles that could be mistaken for products meant for children, such as Sour Patch Kids or gummy bears.
Tyson can’t sell his ear-shaped edibles in the state because body parts are considered part of the prohibition on human-shaped products.
“The phrase ‘the distinct shape of a human’ includes the shape of any and all individual human body parts that make their human form readily distinguishable,” a position statement from the Marijuana Enforcement Division reads.
“I think the goal is to take away sort of the cartoon-y aspect of [edibles] that might be more attractive to underage individuals,” Morgan Fox, political director with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said of the law.
VERIFY reached out to representatives for Tyson, but has not heard back at the time of publishing.
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NORML notes that decisions about cannabis packaging, testing, labeling and product varieties are left up to individual states.
“There are a number of states in addition to Colorado that have specific regulations in place governing exactly what edibles can look like in addition to how they’re packaged, labeled and advertised. This is something that is primarily designed to prevent accidental pediatric ingestion,” Fox said.
Washington state, for example, prohibits the sale of marijuana-infused candy products that are “especially appealing to children.” Some of those products include gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly-colored products. Chocolate, cookies, caramels and mints are allowed.
There are other state laws in place to prevent youth use of marijuana, including a legal age limit of 21 years old for possession and retail purchasing, along with child-resistant packaging rules, adopted by regulators in every state that has legalized marijuana, according to a state regulatory report from NORML.