Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)
Copyright: 2013 The Standard-Speaker
Author: Harold Heckle, Associated Press
Page: A18


MADRID - Spain's judiciary on Friday rejected a plan by a small town
in northeastern Catalonia to ease its municipal debt and help lift
itself out of the financial crisis by growing marijuana.

When the seven-member town council of Rasquera - population 960 -
voted in favor of cultivating cannabis just over a year ago in order
to create jobs and shore up its finances, the news flashed around the

In April 2012, 56 percent of Rasquera's inhabitants gave support in a
referendum to the plan to rent land to the Barcelona-based pot-smoking
group ABCDA which agreed to pay $750,000 per year for two years.

The payment would have been roughly equal to the debt owed by the
picturesque town nestled at the foot of a mountain range with a castle
dating back to the 12th century.

Now such plans have been dashed by a court ruling, accepting a central
government appeal against the council's decision.

Under Spanish law, consumption in private of cannabis in small amounts
is allowed. However, growing it for sale, advertising it or selling it
are illegal.

Rasquera's debt woes mirror those of many larger towns and regions
since Spain's economy crashed when a real estate bubble burst,
ushering in a double-dip recession and leaving local administrations
desperately trying to cope by cutting jobs and slashing spending on
health care and education.
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