Farmers not allowed to pay debt by growing pot

Officials in Rasquera adopted the cannabis-growing plan in February 2012. Photo / Thinkstock
Officials in Rasquera adopted the cannabis-growing plan in February 2012. Photo / Thinkstock

A small farming community in northeastern Spain cannot create a cannabis plantation to help pay off its €1.3 million ($2.1 million) municipal debt, a judge has ruled.

Spain permits private consumption and cultivation of cannabis, which is used for medicinal purposes by some who suffer from chronic pain.

Officials in Rasquera, a town of fewer than 1,000 people, adopted the cannabis-growing plan in February 2012.

The initiative called for creating a municipal enterprise to forge a partnership with the Barcelona Association for Personal Consumption of Cannabis to grow pot, a project Rasquera's administration expected to create 40 jobs and generate €1.33 million over two years. But Government lawyers challenged the plan.

"The economic interest and the grave economic situation of a municipal administration cannot be included in the concept of public interest," Judge Rosa Maria Munoz Rodon said in quashing the initiative.

"We had the hope that after so much time awaiting the verdict, the arguments expressed would have more quality," said Rasquera mayor Bernat Pellisa, announcing plans to appeal the ruling.

- AAP

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