With unemployment rates approaching 23 percent, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, Spain has unquestionably fallen on tough economic times. However, the resourceful people of one town in Tarragona, in the Iberian country's northeast, have come up with a solution:
Rasquera, a town of with a municipal debt of 1.3 million euros, is exploring the idea of growing marijuana on government land to bring in revenue and create jobs, Spanish news agency EFE reports. A nonprofit group, called the Barcelona Association of Cannabis Self-Medication (ABCDA), has offered to pay the town hall 36,000 euros to get the project off the ground, with an annual investment of 550,000 euros for costs that would include land rental and security, according to Basque Radio Television.
The nonprofit ABCDA has around 5,000 members, according to EFE, and would lease the land to work toward its goals of therapy and relaxation.
"Cannabis for self-medication is legal," an ABCDA member told El Periodico, translated by HuffPost. "We're talking about staying within the law."
But not everyone agrees with the assessment.
Eduardo Gil, chief investigator of the Commissary of Mossos d'Esquadra en Tortosa, told El Periodico, "The penal code leaves no doubt that acts of cultivation, growing or trafficking drugs, or other forms of promoting or facilitating drug use, are illegal."
Rasquera's mayor, Bernat Pellisa, told EFE that the town was studying the project because it was "an opportunity, not a frivolity," according to a translation by The Huffington Post.
The results of the investigation of the legality of the project and its ramifications will determine if the pot farm will move forward, or if the economic recovery plans will go up in smoke.