Penitentiary facility proposes to produce cannabis to pay government taxes
The Zimbabwe Prison and Corrections Administration (ZPCS) is planning to start commercial cannabis production at Chiredzi Prison to raise funds to escape pressure and over-reliance on the tax authorities.
The commander of the ZPCS in Masvingo province, Social Ndanga, told the newspaper Herald that his organization had officially asked the government to be allowed to cultivate cannabis for commercial purposes in a prison in the south-east of the country chosen as the site for the project.
We do not intend to produce cannabis for prisoners. This plant is just one of the many revenue generating projects we envision as part of decentralization, instead of just waiting for the government to do everything for us. The government has a lot of responsibilities and we need to think outside the box as Zimbabweans and develop income generation methods and remove the pressure on national funds.
Ndanga said that cannabis production was potentially lucrative because of the proven medicinal use.
He said prison services are conducting field studies to determine the viability of growing cannabis in the hot and humid Lowveld region of Zimbabwe.
Apart from cannabis Ndanga said his organization had also asked for land to grow sugar cane in the Lowveld.
The Government of Zimbabwe Legalized the Production and Sale of Cannabis for Medical or Scientific Purposes April 2018 and authorize production under strict conditions. Cannabis growers are required to apply for licenses to the Ministry of Health.
One of the requirements of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is that in order to obtain a cultivation license, the security and availability of land must be guaranteed and that Chiredzi Prison ensures the availability of land for this plant to grow without constraint.
If approved, it will be a first for a Zimbabwean prison.
In March, the government would have allowed a private company to cultivate for medical purposes near Harare for a fee of 46000 $.