Zimbabwe officials repealed laws banning cannabis cultivation, and they are starting off their new, legal hemp industry with a hemp farm on the grounds of a prison.
According to Bloomberg, Zimbabwe will be planting industrial hemp on the grounds of the main prison in Harare, the capital of the country. This bold move will mark one of the first official production sites of legal hemp.
So far, it is projected that growing industrial hemp, the only form of cannabis legal so far in the country, will make a big splash and benefit the local economy. The hemp industry is expected to be followed by legal medical cannabis in the future. Tobacco is one of the country’s main exports, but due to declining smoking usage across the globe, it would be wise to have a new crop to cultivate. “The government of Zimbabwe is open for business and welcomes investors in all sectors of the economy, including licensing for the production of medical cannabis,” said Nathan Emery, COO of Precision Cannabis Therapeutics Zimbabwe, about the budding industry.
This new plan will help kick off the industry in an unexpected, but potentially very lucrative, way. “The project is the first of its kind,” said Perence Shiri, the agriculture minister, told Bloomberg at an event opening the project at Harare Central Remand Prison.
However, despite the irregularities of this situation, prisoners will not be working hands-on with cannabis. All products will be grown by the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, a private company. The main benefit of using the prison as a home base to take advantage of the prison’s tight security measures. According to the founder of the trust, this program is still in the development phase. “We are still studying the basic adaptation of the different varieties on Zimbabwe soil and this climate,” he said.