The Navarrese municipality of Murillo El Fruto barely exceeds 600 inhabitants but in these elections it has made history in Europe. There, the first two councilors of the Green Light Cannabis Party of the entire continent have been elected: Andrés Vallés and Germán Lanas, 30 years old. They ran as independents and have obtained 32% of the votes cast in the locality. They were a few ballots away from achieving the third act, which would have corresponded to Aitor Murillo, 27. They acknowledge that they did not expect the media exposure they have had since then: "There is a lot of ignorance and the first thing you see is the joint and the clubs, but there is a lot of background behind. We believe that little by little people, through the media, are changing their opinion."
The decision to stand for election was made because they wanted to reactivate municipal politics, says Vallés, seeking that the people are informed of the decisions that are adopted and participate more: "Given the opacity of the City Council, the lack of transparency, we want citizen collaboration and participation." They want to "change the way politics is done." They will share the plenary hall only with another party, Adelante Murillo, which has won the elections with an absolute majority. "Voting every four years is very comfortable, but we want to have more neighborhood initiative, that things that are good for the people can be voted in consensus," adds Murillo.
For now they do not have concrete measures to articulate that neighborhood participation, but they do have a star project in their program: to open an industrial hemp production plant in the town. "They want to make that plant in Navarra and we are convinced that if it is not here, it will be in another town," says Vallés. For Lanas, the plant can be the solution to the depopulation that affects the municipality. "There are no job opportunities and people are leaving. There are a lot of people who don't want to work in the fields because it's so hard and [farm workers] are all migrants." He knows it well, he is responsible for a farm and winegrower on his own.
The industrial hemp plant would complement an eminently agricultural economy. Murillo El Fruto, they explain, is the largest exporter of canned chillies, but other products are also grown: asparagus, canned tomatoes, peppers, wheat, barley, corn ... However, beyond the countryside, there is hardly any industry. And the latest companies that have been installed, adds Fermín Les, president of the Cannabis Party in Navarra, are very polluting. The hemp plant alternative is a long-term project, but they believe it can be very beneficial for the neighborhood because it could establish "a symbiotic relationship between the agricultural part and the industrial part."
Andrés Vallés Gabari (c) and Germán Daniel Lanas(d), councilors of the cannabis party, accompanied by Aitor Murillo (i), number three on the list of Murillo el Fruto.
Beyond the proposals of the Cannabis Party, the industrial hemp plant is not a chimera. This 2023 changes are expected to make the regulations governing the production and marketing of hemp more flexible. In fact, the Regional Government has promoted the Navarra Association for Hemp Research (ANIC), in which it participates directly and under whose formula – pioneer in Spain – it has allied with the Public University of Navarra (UPNA), with the biomedical research center Navarrabiomed, with the Institute of Agrobiotechnology of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC-IDAB), with the public companies INTIA and Nasertic, and with the private company Josenea.
The objective is to research, plant and develop hemp varieties that have low percentages of THC, the narcotic principle for which it is best known, and that can be used for medical, scientific, research or cultivation purposes. From the Navarrese Executive consider that the cultivation of hemp can be "strategic" for the evolution of agriculture in the community because both industrial and medicinal can become an alternative crop for economically disadvantaged areas or at risk of depopulation. In fact, the plant is known among experts as the "pig of crops", because of it, like this animal, you can take advantage of practically everything and with a high profitability.
The creation of this association will be "positive" for the promotion of this industry, considers Les: "It is already triumphing in France, Italy or the Czech Republic, which are the ones who have championed this in the European Union, together with Switzerland". Since its formation, they have not left aside another of their demands: the legalization of cannabis. He believes that such a decision would contribute to "reducing consumption, collecting more taxes and improving security, because the war on drugs is a waste." And he insists: "Cannabis is also health, it has its therapeutic use and Spain is the last EU country to incorporate it."
He considers that what happened in Murillo El Fruto is an "example" that "society is ahead" of the rulers: "Farmers have a lot of information about it and are open to incorporating it." In any case, he defends that the objectives of Vallés and Lanas in the consistory go further: "They are boys from Murillo and what they are going to do is work for the people so that there is a better school, so that the people of the town do not leave". For this task, the two elected councilors are already prepared, who recognize that they feel a little respect: "As we have never been in politics, we do not know many things, but we feel like it." In general, they have a good relationship with the members of the other elected party, Adelante Murillo, which has obtained five councilors, an absolute majority. "We're not going to burn anything. We believe that we will be able to work together," concludes Lanas.
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