A Spanish village plans to rent out its fields for growing cannabis in an urgent bid to create jobs and money to pay off its debts, officials said.
The Catalonian village of Rasquera, population 900, voted late Wednesday in favour of a plan to rent land to an association that promotes the legal recreational or therapeutic use of cannabis by its 5,000 members.
"This is an opportunity that will bring money to the village and will bring jobs," mayor Bernat Pellissa told TVE television after the village council, controlled by a pro-Catalan independence party, approved the plan.
The village's economic councillor Josep Maria Insausti told AFP the plan is to create a public company through which landowners will be able to rent their fields to the Barcelona-based cannabis smokers' association ABCDA.
Private consumption of cannabis is not outlawed in Spain although it is illegal to sell the drug.
The village is suffering from Spain's public financing crisis and hopes income from letting the land will help it pay down its 1.3 million euros ($1.7 million) of debt.
"The village, like so many others, has many difficulties, a big crisis, a lot of inhabitants without work," said Insausti. "Now we are being asked to pay off our debts impossibly quickly for a small village."
He said the cannabis growers will plant fields that are currently unused.
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