Correctional facility offers to produce cannabis to cover government taxes
The Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Administration (ZPCS) plans to engage in commercial cannabis production at Chiredzi Prison in order to raise funds to escape pressure and overreliance on the tax authorities.
ZPCS commanding officer in Masvingo province Social Ndanga told the newspaper Herald that his organization had formally requested the government to be allowed to cultivate cannabis for commercial purposes in a prison in the southeast 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 income-generating projects we are considering as part of decentralization rather than just waiting for the government to do everything for us. The government has a lot of responsibilities and we have to think outside the box as Zimbabweans and develop methods of income generation and take the pressure off national funds.
Ndanga said cannabis production was potentially lucrative due to 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, it is necessary that the security and availability of land be guaranteed and that the Chiredzi prison ensures the availability of land for this plant to grow without restriction.
If approved, it will be a first for a Zimbabwe prison.
In March, the government reportedly allowed a private company to cultivate for medical purposes near Harare on payment of a fee of $ 46000.