A Zimbabwean company planted the country’s first authorised hemp crop on Friday at a prison in the capital Harare after the production of industrial cannabis was legalised last month.

The Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT) sowed six varieties of industrial cannabis, also known as hemp, saying it chose a prison yard out of “convenience” as the property already has tight security.

“This project is the first of its kind in the history of our country,” Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri told guests at the launch in Harare central prison.

“This pilot project will provide essential knowledge or information for the successful production of this crop. The benefits that will be derived from the production of industrial hemp are enormous and varied,” he said.

Zimbabwe legalised the production of cannabis for medicinal or scientific use last year. But it was only in September that the government legalised production of cannabis for industrial use.

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