RASQUERA, Spain (Reuters) - A small town in northeastern Spain, believes it has found a novel way to pay off its debt: cultivating cannabis.

Tucked in the hills of one of Spain’s most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro debt in two years.

Local authorities are keeping the location of the site top secret while Spain’s attorney general investigates the legality of the project. The Catalan regional government has also asked the village for further information about the plan.

Spanish towns are swamped in debt after a decade-long construction boom that imploded in 2008. Almost one in four Spanish workers is jobless and many cities are months behind in salaries for street cleaners and other municipal employees.

Spain’s central government is now forcing local authorities to tighten their belts even further as a euro zone debt crisis drags on, forcing greater fiscal austerity onto most countries using the single European currency.

The mayor of Rasquera, with 900 inhabitants, said the project will not only benefit locals, but also eliminate organized crime and the tax evasion associated with the cannabis industry thanks to government supervision.