Earlier this week, the team at Tyson 2.0 announced the launch of Mike Bites—ear-shaped gummies meant to evoke Mike Tyson’s infamous 1997 match against Evander Holyfield. Weighing in at 10 milligrams of THC each (with, naturally, a bite mark along the ear’s upper curve), the gummies took off as a viral headline that underscores the fast pace and grand aspirations of this new cannabis brand. 

“We took some preorders, and, prior to it even hitting the market, we sold out of product,” CEO Adam Wilks said of the new line. “We’re blessed and thankful that the demand is beyond what we could have imagined. That’s the biggest issue: keeping up with demand.”

In cannabis, with its fragmented U.S. markets stitched together by social media hype and cultural touchstones, a viral hit is a powerful milestone for any team trying to break into the crowded business arena. Tyson 2.0 operates right now in California, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts and Michigan—with more states and consumer demand to come. The splashy appeal of Mike Bites paves the way for future launches.

The team works with Columbia Care on the cultivation and retail side of the business. What attracted the team to Columbia Care was not just that multistate corporation’s chief growth officer, Jesse Channon, a friend of the Tyson 2.0 crew, but also a commitment to brand-building as a pillar of expansion. It’s not just a matter of the land race to enter new markets, but rather Columbia Care has demonstrated to the Tyson 2.0 team an intentional desire to develop recognizable brands across state lines.

“We believe that this is a key to what a lot of brands have not yet done,” Tyson 2.0 board chairman and co-founder Chad Bronstein said. “When you look at celebrity brands and other brands, it’s hard to get mass distribution. … A lot of the MSOs, they didn’t really necessarily care about celebrities because they were selling out of product already. So, we had to really figure out how to get that multistate distribution and cultivation and get into retail.”

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And with headlines spanning mainstream national news outlets and sports media, the new edibles line is surely catching attention across the U.S. cannabis space.

“I feel like the best way to compare it is to Yeezys,” Bronstein said, referring to Kanye West’s Adidas line. “It now went viral and everyone wants it, and demand in cannabis is tough. There’s a lot of demand, so I feel like we’re going to have enough demand for the next three to four years, and we’ll do drops. It’s something that we’re very proud of. It shows that having the team and good leadership and good execution brings valued products to the market.”

The brand officially came together last year, with an announcement that Tyson 2.0 would sell 1-ounce bags of flower in Colorado. Wilks was previously the CEO of One Plant, and Bronstein was founder and CEO of Fyllo. Both men bring that experience to the table, giving them a perspective from which to begin conversations with, say, Columbia Care or other partners like Futurola and G Pen. 

In fact, the idea of Mike Bites preceded the Tyson 2.0 launch. Creatively, Mike Bites came about as the brainchild of artists Johnny Ryan and Azim Spicer, who are now Tyson 2.0 partners and who have both been connected with Tyson himself for years.

“We started Tyson 2.0, and one of the things that Adam and I wanted to do was bring everything to life,” Bronstein said, recalling the early Mike Bites pitches.

So, what’s next after this week of headlines?

Bronstein hinted at “a big announcement coming soon,” but didn’t get into details. “Assume that we will have other brands join Mike as partners, and we’ll have more growth. We’re going to have more collabs. I mean, the sky’s the limit.”

Wilks jumped in to add that more states would come online for Tyson 2.0—and that brand even had international aspirations in the works.

“We believe that Mike has a big enough name and a nostalgic name—and this value in cannabis—that if our team put together the right strategy, we would be successful,” Bronstein said. “I’ll be honest with you, on the retail side, MSOs and everyone else are realizing that brands are where [the market is] going. It’s not saturated yet, though, because there’s not enough brands in the marketplace. We jumped in and we feel like we put together a great brand with great products and good partners.”