Estonian district votes to get cannabis leaf flag

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image sourceKanepi Municipality
image captionGovernment officials say they will respect the will of the people

Citizens in an Estonian district have chosen the cannabis leaf as the symbol on their new flag and coat of arms, it's reported.

The Kanepi municipality in southeast Estonia was created last July through the merger of three previously separate districts ;and as a result of the local government shake-up, residents were given the chance to vote on a new symbol to represent the district, state broadcaster ERR says.

The overwhelmingly popular choice among the people of Kanepi was a design based on the cannabis leaf. According to ERR, "kanep" is the Estonian word for cannabis.

Mayor Andrus Seeme told local media that the winning design received 12,000 of the total 15,000 votes cast, and said that he would respect the public's wishes.

Cannabis is illegal in Estonia, however, government official Gert Uiboaed says that nobody will stand in any local authority's way if they want to use cannabis-based symbolism.

"Cannabis has been used as a heraldic symbol for a long time," Mr Uiboed said. "It is up to the local government to decide exactly what symbols and ideas they want."

image sourceWikimedia/Zosma
image captionKanepi is a largely rural district in southeast Estonia

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

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