THE MAJORITY OF voters in a small Spanish village voted in favour of growing cannabis in order to pay off municipal debt last night – but the town failed to reached the vote threshold needed to approve the plan.
A seven-member town council in Rasquera, population 960, in the northeastern Catalonia region first approved the idea in March, but the proposal caused so much controversy the mayor agreed to put it to referendum.
Under the proposal, a plot of land would be leased to an association of marijuana experts from Barcelona who would pay Rasquera €1.3 million to grow the plants. Some 40 jobs — growing, harvesting and packaging the cannabis — would allegedly be created under the scheme.
The referendum took place yesterday in the hamlet, which is made up mostly of retirees, and the support of at least 75 per cent of voters was needed for the plan to go ahead.
Of the habitants eligible to vote, 68 per cent did so – with 308 voting in favour (56 per cent) and 239 voting against (44 per cent), reports ara.cat. Although the majority of voters gave their support to the plan, the vote threshold required was not reached and so the plan was not approved.
The mayor of Rasquera Bernat Pallisa had vowed to resign if the vote was not passed. However, he told reporters last night that he would not step down immediately as the project had won majority support, reports the Guardian.
Spanish courts have accepted that small plantations providing cannabis to a limited number of people are not illegal, however the scale of the Rasquera plan was considered too big to be legal by some.