Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) spoke at the party conference of the Green League in Helsinki on Saturday, 11 September. She secured her second, two-year term at the helm of the ruling party after running unopposed. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE GREEN LEAGUE has lost more than 50 members but added almost 20 new ones in the aftermath of its widely discussed decision to support the legalisation of cannabis use, reports Uutissuomalainen.

Both of the numbers are higher than usual, Veli Liikanen, the party secretary of the Greens, stated to Uutissuomalainen on Wednesday.

Although not every member disclosed their reason for leaving the party, he estimated that it is obvious that the majority of the outgoing members decided to leave because of the cannabis decision. Liikanen also highlighted that the number of outgoing members is low relative to the total membership of 7,900.

Delegates of the Green League last weekend voted 183 for and 181 against a motion to allow the use, possession and sales of cannabis in a regulated market, making the party the first parliamentary party ever to voice its support for legalising the substance in Finland.

Decriminalising the use and possession of cannabis has been on the agenda of the party for a while, however.

The decision has apparently stirred up concerns among the party faithful.

“There are strong arguments for selling cannabis at Alko in Finland,” Osmo Soininvaara, a former chairperson of the Green League, wrote on Monday. “I agree with the proposal factually, but I’m afraid it could be politically unwise – or perhaps I’m simply a political coward.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT