Estonian District Adopts Cannabis Flag after Online Poll

Estonian District Adopts Cannabis Flag after Online Poll

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Designer Tonu Kukk holds a paper with a design of Kanepi municipality's flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf after the municipality council's vote in Polgaste
Designer Tonu Kukk holds a paper with a design of Kanepi municipality's flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf after the municipality council's vote in Polgaste, Estonia May 15, 2018. Kanep is the Estonian word for cannabis. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

KANEPI, Estonia (Reuters)

A local government in Estonia has narrowly approved using a flag with an image of a cannabis leaf as its symbol after a online poll overwhelmingly voted for it

The name of the region, Kanepi, in southeastern Estonia, is derived from “kanep”, the Estonian word for marijuana and the hemp that their ancestors grew and processed into cloth, oil and ropes more than 150 years ago.

 

A design for Kanepi municipality's flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf is seen during the municipality council's vote in Polgaste
A design for Kanepi municipality’s flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf is seen during the municipality council’s vote in Polgaste, Estonia May 15, 2018. Kanep is the Estonian word for cannabis. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

The need for a new flag came about after several different local government areas merged into the larger Kanepi.

An open online poll in January collected more than 12,000 votes for the cannabis symbol, despite the population of the rural district and village of Kanepi being less than 5,000.

 

A design for Kanepi municipality's flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf is seen during the municipality council's vote in Polgaste
A design for Kanepi municipality’s flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf is seen during the municipality council’s vote in Polgaste, Estonia May 15, 2018. Kanep is the Estonian word for cannabis. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

Nine members of the council then voted for the flag with eight against.

Kanepi council member Arno Kakk, who voted against the new symbol, told Reuters after the vote on Tuesday: “I must say that I am not for the fact that we will be marching under this kind of a flag.”

 

Kanepi municipality council chairman Kaido Koiv holds a paper with a design for municipality's flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf in Polgaste
Kanepi municipality council chairman Kaido Koiv holds a paper with a design for municipality’s flag and coat of arms featuring a cannabis leaf in Polgaste, Estonia May 15, 2018. Kanep is the Estonian word for cannabis. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

Council chairman Kaido Koiv, who supported adopting the leaf, said the process “was very democratic”, despite questions raised over the numbers involved in the online poll, and saw no reason to reject the symbol.

Drugs are illegal to sell in Estonia. Possession and use of small quantities of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanour punishable with a fine.

 

(Reporting by Janis Laizans and additional reporting by David Mardiste; Editing by Johan Ahlander and Alison Williams)

 

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