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Small town in Spain considers growing marijuana

A woman looks at books about cannabis cultivation during the ExpoCannabis fair in Leganes, near Madrid. One small Spanish village is now debating growing marijuana to help reduce its debt.

Jeremy Hobson: Over 50 percentof a small village in northern Spain has voted in favor of a plan to allow marijuana to be grown there. The aim is to generate money for the village to help wipe out its debt. However it's still unclear if the idea will go ahead.

Here for today's Mid-day Extra, we have the BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid.


Tom Burridge: Just over 800 people live in the Catalonian village of Rasquera. Only 555 of them took part in a referendum. They had to vote "yes" or "no" to the Mayor's plan to cancel out the village's debt. But his plan included a proposal to allow marijuana to be grown in the village.

The mayor is Bernat Pellisa.

Bernat Pellisa: It's an opportunity for the village. it will make the village money, and it will create jobs.

A pro-cannabis organization wants to pay the village for the right to grow the drug on its land.

But even though more than half of the village voted in favour of the plan, it might still not go ahead. The mayor had said he would resign if his plan did not get a "yes" vote of 75 percent.

Today though, he suggested he isn't stepping down. And then there's also the question of whether growing marijuana in the village would be legal: You can smoke it in Spain, but selling and growing marijuana are against the law.

In Madrid, I'm the BBC's Tom Burridge, for Marketplace.

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