March 1st, 2012
The Catalonian town of Rasquera has unveiled a novel way to combat the recession – the town hall is leasing out its land for marijuana plantations.
The vote was passed unanimously yesterday – Wednesday - to sign a €1.3m (£1.1m) agreement with a cannabis association in nearby Barcelona to plant marijuana for its 5,000 members.
Rasquera – a new smokers mecca?
The village was relatively unheard of until a few days ago. Sitting quietly at the base of the Sierra Cardo in Tarragona, Catalonia, some 150m above the River Ebro and only 140kms from Barcelona, Rasquera was like any other picturesque Catalan village, known for its quiet rural tourism.
News of the vote is spreading quickly. The mayor, Bernat Pellisa of the Catalan Republican Left party, has argued that “This is a chance to bring in money and create jobs.”
The townhall has leased a seven-hectare stretch of town hall land – roughly the size of 10 football pitches to the Cannabis association for €650,000 a year.
40 jobs would be created directly and the town hall would be able to pay off its current debt in under two years.
This is just the first stage of the town hall’s rescue package. “They are an additional five or six other projects in the wings,” according to Pellisa.
A second, larger, cannabis club with 7,000 members was due to meet Pellisa for talks today
Various other industries are also being examined, including supplying seeds to hemp shops and an alternative clinic for cancer suffers.
The deal will turn Rasquera into one of the largest cannabis growing regions in Europe.
“Growing for oneself is not illegal, but this is a delicate issue,” explained lawyer Oriol Casals.
Be sure to check out some of these fantastic holiday homes in Rasquera