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Up in smoke: Eurozone crisis pushes Spanish town to harvest pot

Published time: March 02, 2012 14:52
Edited time: March 02, 2012 19:13
Up in smoke:  Eurozone crisis pushes Spanish town to harvest pot. (Reuters / Jorge Duenes)

Up in smoke: Eurozone crisis pushes Spanish town to harvest pot. (Reuters / Jorge Duenes)

A “dying” Spanish town suffering from massive unemployment is trying to stem the tide of economic decay the only way they can: by farming pot. Are the desperate measures being taken in Spain a sign of things to come as Europe’s economic crisis deepens?

­Nestled in the foothills of the Serra De Cardo in Catalonia, Rasquera looks like an ideal place to live.  But swept up in the wave of mass unemployment that has afflicted the eurozone at record levels, Rasquera is being crippled by jobless rates which stand at over 20 per cent.

To deal with the exodus of young people from the small municipality, the Rasquera’s town council voted on Wednesday to rent out land to a cannabis association in Barcelona to grow marijuana.

But while the “pot for revenue” plan is for now an isolated case, Rasquera could symbolize a deeper malaise being felt throughout Europe.

The jobless rate for the 17-member eurozone in January reached 10.7 per cent, the highest level in the common currency’s history.

With over 23 million out of work throughout the greater European Union, further austerity seems to be the only thing many see on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the looming shadow of a Greek default doesn’t portend well for the debt-ridden economies of Spain, Portugal and Italy.

And with Spain topping the list of eurozone unemployment blackspots at 23.3 per cent, the question becomes, is it better to inflict deeper cuts to social security due to lack of funds, or allow weed farmers to cut stems for cash?

Such questions highlight the strange days ahead for the eurozone as the specter of collapse looms large.

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