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Plan for Spanish marijuana farm uncertain

April 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

RASQUERA, Spain, April 11 (UPI) -- A Spanish mayor's plan to solve his village's budget problems with a marijuana farm was supported by 56 percent of the voters in a referendum.

Bernat Pellisa, the project's major backer, had said he would resign as mayor of Rasquera near the Catalonian coast if less than 75 percent approved it in Tuesday's vote. After the results were in, however, he said he has not made up his mind, The Guardian reported.

Rasquera, with a population of about 3,000, owes about $1.3 million after borrowing heavily in recent years to improve streets and install lighting. Pellisa said allowing the Barcelona Private Cannabis Consumption Association to set up a plantation would provide as many as 40 jobs while giving the town an additional $1.7 million over two years.

The legality of the plan is disputed. While growing limited amounts of marijuana for private consumption appears to be legal, critics said an association with 5,000 members and a plantation owned by a municipal government are another matter.

Catalonia is an autonomous region that is still part of Spain. The regional government opposed Pellisa's plan as did local police.

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