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Zimbabwe kicks off cannabis industry with prison plantation

In bid to diversify its crop exports away from tobacco.
Prisoners will not be tending the crop as the cannabis will be grown by the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust. Image: Reuters

Zimbabwe, which is repealing its laws banning cannabis production, has launched the industry by planting industrial hemp on the grounds of the main prison in the capital, Harare.

The drive to grow industrial hemp, which will be followed by legalising the production of medical cannabis, is a bid to diversify its crop exports away from tobacco as global pressure mounts to curb smoking.

“The project is the first of its kind,” said Perence Shiri, the agriculture minister, at event opening the project at Harare Central Remand Prison.

Prisoners will not be tending the crop as the cannabis will be grown by the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, a private company, which will take advantage of the tight security of the prison to run the pilot project.

“This is still a research project,” Said Zorodzai Maroveke, the founder of the trust. “We are still studying the basic adaptation of the different varieties on Zimbabwe soil and this climate.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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