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Kanepi Municipality residents choose cannabis leaf for flag, coat of arms

Designs submitted to the contest in Kanepi Municipality.
Designs submitted to the contest in Kanepi Municipality. Source: (Kanepi Municipality homepage)

Kanepi Municipality, which merged with two other municipalities in the course of Estonia's nationwide administrative reform, held a contest and referendum in December and January to choose a new coat of arms, flag and logo for the new, bigger municipality, and the winner by a landslide was a design featuring a cannabis leaf. Kanep is the Estonian word for cannabis.

According to Kanepi municipal mayor Andrus Seeme, the design featuring a cannabis leaf won the referendum, and now it must also be approved by the Heraldry Department of the Government Office and then Kanepi Municipal Council, reported daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian).

Seeme added that the panel didn't support the design exactly as it was presented in the referendum — while the cannabis leaf will remain, the committee recommends stylizing the leaf somewhat.

Kanepi, Kõlleste and Valgjärve Municipalities merged into one, larger Kanepi Municipality in the wake of Estonia's administrative reform, from which arose the need to seek new insignia. 23 designs were submitted to the contest in December, from which a municipal panel chose seven finalists, among them the design featuring a cannabis leaf.

In January, Kanepi Municipality published the seven finalist designs on its homepage and asked people to vote for their favorite design. According to Seeme, over 15,000 people participated in the vote, more than 12,000 of whom voted for the cannabis leaf design.

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.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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