The police would act against Rasquera’s cannabis plantation

Rasquera, with less than one-thousand residents and located in southern Catalonia, approved on April 10th planting cannabis as part of their local economic reactivation plan through a citizen vote. The day after, Rasquera’s Mayor announced he will resign as his proposal did not reach 75% of the popular support. However, he said the plan will carry on. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs affirmed that the police will report to the public attorney on any cannabis plantation, since they continue being illegal despite Rasquera’s vote. The Spanish Justice Minister thought that the initiative could have “more negative consequences in the long run” than “positive in the short term”.


April 11, 2012 11:07 PM

Rasquera (ACN).- The day after the southern Catalan village of Rasquera approved through a citizen vote planting cannabis to pay for the municipality's debt, the Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Felip Puig, affirmed that the Catalan Police will act against any marijuana plantation. On Wednesday, Puig, in charge of security in Catalonia, warned that cannabis plantations remain illegal despite the citizen vote organised by the municipality of Rasquera. He also reminded that he has been saying so for many days. Furthermore, the Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, said the initiative “could bring more negative consequences in the long run than those brought in the short term”. Rasquera, a village of less than one-thousand residents is located near the Ebre River (Ebro River in Spanish). The people of the village voted on Tuesday through a non-binding referendum for a municipal economic recovery plan based on planting marijuana on one of the village’s farms. The Mayor, Bernat Pellissa, proposed earlier this year to plant marijuana on 7.5 hectares owned by a Rasquera neighbour to pay in two years time for the €1.3 million debt of the town hall. The Barcelona Association for Cannabis Personal Consumption (ABCDA) would pay €650,000 per year for the plants. Pellissa announced that if his proposal did not reach a minimum of 75% of supporting votes in Tuesday’s citizen referendum, he would resign. 68% of residents voted and the town hall proposal was approved with 56.3% of the cast ballots. On Wednesday Pellissa, a former member of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), announced his resignation, although he did not say when he would actually leave. The Mayor also announced that the municipal plan for economic reactivation, based on the cannabis plantation, would carry on.

The day after Rasquera residents endorsed the town hall proposal to plant cannabis to reactivate their local economy, the village Mayor, Bernat Pellissa, announced his future resignation. However he did not confirm when he would leave office. “Lying is the worst crime a politician can commit. I will resign, but I will do so with responsibility”, he said. Pellissa, a former member of ERC, had previously said that if his proposal was not backed with at least 75% of the ballots, he and his team would resign. His plan got 56.3% of support in Tuesday’s non-binding referendum. Despite announcing his resignation, Rasquera’s Mayor said that the economic recovery plan would carry on. On Thursday they will meet with the ABCDA, to study how to proceed.

Pellissa has been running the town hall with 3 other councillors from ERC, whose hypothetical resignation is still unknown. The local council is currently formed by 4 ERC member and 3 from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU). On Wednesday Pellissa denounced a “political persecution” against him, making many people vote against the economic recovery plan. According to him, the “persecution” is due because he chaired the Baix Ebre County Council and he opposed hosting a temporary nuclear waste warehouse in the area that would have received waste from all Spanish nuclear power plants. Finally the nuclear waste warehouse will be built in Villar de Cañas, in Cuenca Province, near Madrid.

An economic recovery plan based on a cannabis plantation

Pellissa had presented earlier this year an economic recovery plan considered far from the norm in order to pay for the €1.3 million in public debt. The plan was mainly based on a cannabis plantation, occupying 7.5 hectares of rural land owned by one Rasquera neighbour. For two years, marijuana would be grown and sold to the Barcelona Association for Cannabis Personal Consumption (ABCDA). The ABCDA would initially pay €36,000 to start the project. Then they would pay €650,000 per year for the plants, covering the entirety of the town hall’s €1.3 million debt. Furthermore, the plantation would create 5 direct jobs and 40 indirect, according to Rasquera’s town hall. However, cannabis plantations are illegal in Catalonia, as is its sale. Marijuana is only allowed for personal consumption in very small doses. Therefore, the town hall called for a non-binding citizen referendum to politically endorse the proposal.