Spain town nixes pot-growing plan to pay off debt

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RASQUERA, Spain — What about growing marijuana to pay off crushing municipal debt? One Spanish village put the idea to the vote Tuesday, and a majority of its citizens approved — but not the 75 percent needed.

The referendum in Rasquera, population 960, in the northeastern Catalonia region represented a quirky and legally touchy illustration of Spain’s deep financial woes.

For the plan to go ahead, the yes camp needed at least 75 percent of the vote, but just 308 people said ‘Si’ — only 56.3 percent — while 239 said ‘No,’ according to results published on the village’s Website.

The result effectively ends the idea to lease a plot of land to an association of marijuana buffs in Barcelona who wanted to pay Rasquera €1.3 million ($1.7 million) over two years. About 40 jobs — growing, harvesting and packaging the pot — were envisioned.

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