Zimbabwe may not be the first place that people think of when they think of hemp, however, the African nation made history this month when it planted its first crop of hemp. Zimbabwe legalized the production of hemp last year for medical and scientific purposes and legalized hemp for industrial purposes in September of this year.

The Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT) planted six different varieties of hemp. ZIHT was the first entity to receive a hemp cultivation license in Zimbabwe’s history. The license is valid for 5 years. It was a monumental development for Zimbabwe, as Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Minister pointed out according to Yahoo News:

“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.

The location of the historic hemp garden is significant in multiple ways. The fact that it used to be a prison is representative of both hemp prohibition’s past in Zimbabwe as well as how much times are changing on the African continent and around the world.

ZIHT has stated that it chose the site because security features were already built into the property, which makes sense. It’s not the first former correctional facility to be converted into a cannabis cultivation facility. Similar types of facilities in North America have been converted over the years.

However, this is the first time that the conversion of a prison facility has been doubled with it also simultaneously being the location of the first legal planting in a nation’s history, and that’s definitely worth celebrating.