A not-for-profit group which promotes the legalisation of cannabis in Estonia has been green lighted by Tartu County Court for entry in the companies' register.
The organisation, MTÜ Eesti 420, which wishes to poll all parties running in the March election via a questionnaire on their stance on the legalisation of cannabis, says that the issue is one of personal freedoms.
''Our motivation is to have a society where the use of cannabis for medical, recreational and other purposes carries no punishment, one where people have the freedom to decide their own life and health issues themselves, without state interference,'' said Jevgeni Krištafovich, Eesti 420 lawyer.
The organisation takes its name from a term in cannabis culture denoting the consumption of the drug, especially at 4.20 in the afternoon (or, presumably, morning) and/or on 20 April (which in the US date notation would be 4/20). Eesti 420's board includes student activist Igor Bronštein, and entrepreneur, Free Party member and former sports shooter Inna Rose.
Not currently legal in Estonia
"We support policies aimed at raising people's awareness of the effects of cannabis use and other issues related to health, such as surrogate motherhood and euthanasia,'' Ms Rose said.
''It is important for us to extend the rights and freedoms of people in making decisions about their lives and health, and to reduce the role of the state in this area,'' she added, echoing Mr Krištafovich's statements.
Whilst cannabis is not fully legal for sale and recreational consumption in any European state at present, in many countries either the law is not enforced, or it is decriminalised, espcially in the case of smaller quantities. Some European countries such as the UK, Germany and Finland, have legalised the medicinal use of cannabis; Estonia has not.
Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries at present where cannabis is legal nationwide; several US states, principally on the West Coast, have also legalised the drug in recent years.
Editor: Andrew Whyte