With a national unemployment rate that now hovers around 23 percent, Spain is in dire straits economically. In an effort to turn the tide locally, the city council of the town of Rasquera, in Catalonia, has voted in favour to start cannabis cultivation for private cannabis clubs in Barcelona.
The town hall voted to sign a lucrative agreement with a cannabis association in Barcelona to plant marijuana for its 5,000 members. It will allow the association to plant on a seven-hectare stretch of town hall land – roughly the size of 10 football pitches. "This is a chance to bring in money and create jobs," explained mayor Bernat Pellisa of the Catalan Republican Left party.
The project will create 40 jobs and is projected to generate 1.33 million euros over the next two years.
The private consumption and cultivation of pot is legal in Spain. Over the last two years, hundreds of so called ‘social cannabis clubs’ have sprung up nationwide. Social cannabis clubs are places where registered members can purchase (and consume) cannabis.
While those opposed to the measure say that it “brushes the limit of illicit activities”, Rasquera Mayor Bernat Pallisa said that the project is supported by a majority of the townspeople, adding that he felt like a “pioneer on the European level”.
At the moment, Cannabis Social Clubs are legally operating in Spain and Belgium. The ENCOD organisation offers useful information on cannabis clubs, including a manual on how to create a social cannabis club and a code of conduct for European cannabis social clubs.