Drugs are illegal in Estonia and possession of even a small amount of cannabis for personal use is a misdemeanor, but that didn’t stop residents of an Estonian region to vote in a marijuana leaf as their new logo.
Several local government areas were recently combined into a new rural district called Kanepi in Estonia. Needing a flag, the local government opened the matter to an online poll in January. Despite there being only 5,000 residents in the area, 12,000 voted for their support of a flag with the cannabis leaf on it. The district council ratified the poll in a narrow 9-8 vote.
Not everybody is so pleased about the decision, and there are some questions about those voting numbers, but Council Chairman Kaido Koiv told Reuters that the process “was very democratic.”
Council member Arno Kakk was not so hot on the idea. “I must say that I am not for the fact that we will be marching under this kind of a flag,” he said.
The weed leaf design did not come out of nowhere. The region has a long history of cannabis cultivation. Its very name is derived from the word “kanep,” the Estonian word for marijuana. More than 150 years ago, harvesting of cannabis and its processing into cloth, rope, and oil was a part of life in the area.
To this day “a few local businesses [produce] organic hemp oil and flour in the region,” Council member Andrus Seeme told Agence France-Presse.
“Today the cannabis leaf is seen primarily as a recreational drug,” Seeme said, “but in fact, hemp-type cannabis has been used in practical ways for years and it has hundreds of uses.”
There’s “nothing wrong” with the new flag, he said.
Photo via Flickr user Satish Krishnamurthy