The former Soviet State of Estonia has been reorganizing its governing structures lately. Amongst the administrative reforms, the three municipalities of Kanepi, Kolleste, and Valgjarve merged into one new municipality simply called Kanepi.
Kanepi, it would seem, is the Estonian word for cannabis. (And I thought I was cool because I lived on Stoney Drive as a teenager!)
With a name that literally means “cannabis”, it’s no surprise that you might find some ardent supporters of the plant in the mix of the local population. And that theory seems to have played out. The new municipality of Kanepi recently held a design competition to create a new coat of arms, flag, and logo to represent its new administration. 23 designs were submitted in December and whittled down to seven finalists by a municipal panel in January, then voted on by the population at large.
Out of over 15,000 votes, the citizens overwhelmingly chose one image. More than 12,000 citizens voted for a cannabis leaf.
Very much, ahem, a stoney-in’ move on their part. (See what I did there? Yeah, I know. It’s a stretch.)
Despite this obvious nod toward acceptance of the beloved herb, other political barriers remain for Estonian patients seeking legal access. According to EstonianWorld.com, Estonia ranks as the 28th biggest cannabis-loving nation on the planet with about 6% rate of regular consumers. However, harsh penalties range from 3-5 years imprisonment for trading or growing the medicine, and only 13% of the population supports legalization.
The Municipality of Kanepi, however, seems to be moving in the right direction:
“While the people’s choice was clear, it is the municipality’s panel who decides what design will be submitted to the Government Office for approval. The panel, however, took the people’s wishes into account.
“Gert Uiboaed, insignia adviser at the Government Office, noted that the Government Office will not intervene if a local government council wants to feature a cannabis leaf in its insignia.”