Estonian Region to Adopt Cannabis Flag After Results of Public Poll
Written by Cassidy Patnoe, Law Clerk, Gleam Law PLLC.
The near ubiquity of, and ease of access to, the internet makes it easy to find the opinions and preferences of people all over the globe. More and more, local governments are looking to online polls as a venue to let the voice of the citizenry be heard. But the ease of accessing online polls can make a commitment to adhering to their results a risky, and sometimes humorous, proposition. In the procession of online polls being flooded with unexpected outsiders (as with the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council’s Boaty McBoatface poll), a small, municipal government in Estonia has voted to adopt an unusual flag.
In January, an open, online poll received more than 12,000 votes (out of 15,000 cast) for the Estonian region Kanepi to adopt a green-and-white flag prominently featuring a cannabis leaf. This was surprising due to the region having fewer than 1,000 residents. The choice was not a complete non-sequitur, however. The name “Kanepi” is derived from “kanep,” the Estonian word for cannabis, including the hemp historically grown in the area. So, while the choice and the number of votes it garnered may have been unexpected, it is not wholly without historical merit.
Marijuana remains illegal in Estonia, but perhaps this is a signal of a shift in attitudes. Changes in cultural perceptions often precede legislative actions, as seen in many U.S. states’ marches towards the legalization of cannabis.
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