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Monday's papers: Postal strike, cannabis seeds, delayed winter

Among items in the morning papers, postal strike expands, legal sale of cannabis seeds, and unseasonably warm weather.

Kansalaisaloite kannabiksen käytön rangaistavuuden poistamiseksi haluaisi lakiin muutoksen, jonka myötä kannabiskasveja saisi kasvattaa kotona korkeintaan neljää kasvia kerrallaan. Kuvassa kannabiskasvi Australiassa kuvattuna.
A citizens' initiative to decriminalise cannabis has met with little enthusiasm from lawmakers. Image: Darren England / EPA

Talks aimed at ending a strike by Finnish postal workers failed to reach a settlement over the weekend.

As a result, a number of other unions have announced the start of support action to help the Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU press its demands.

Joining in as of Monday are the Transport Workers’ Union AKT, the Finnish Seafarers´ Union, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and Service Union United PAM. Members of the Finnish Aviation Union IAU began supporting the strike last week, severely delaying airmail deliveries.

The newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that so far the postal strike is causing a delay of several days in the delivery of packages and may cause delays of weeks for the delivery of letters and periodicals. Daily newspaper distribution is not, however, affected.

Jarmo Ainasoja, Posti's Head of Exception management, told the paper that the company will be able to mitigate the effects of support action by the Transport Workers’ Union by using its network of subcontractors.

"There is always somebody who wants to work and take part in deliveries. We have a fairly extensive network of partners. A lot depends on how involved they become. That's something that can be better evaluated on Monday," said Ainasoja.

Ilta-Sanomat warned, however that problems with post moving through port facilities can be expected.

The paper goes on to provide a detailed day-by-day listing of union actions impacting postal deliveries through the upcoming week.

Negotiations on a deal to end the Finnish Post and Logistics Union strike are set to resume on Monday afternoon.

Buy seeds, but don't plant them

The legal use of cannabis has become a hot topic again, especially after a citizens' initiative calling for its decriminalisation passed the 50,000 signatures mark and headed to parliament late last month.

According to Finland's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, the initiative has met with little enthusiasm from lawmakers, with a majority of MPs saying they oppose legalisation, and Prime Minister Antti Rinne pledging that his government will not push for passage.

On Monday the paper reported that while cannabis is still not legal, the sale of cannabis seeds and cannabis paraphernalia is.

The paper spoke with Juha Vihervaara, the owner of one Helsinki shop, Seeds of Love, which openly imports and sells a wide range of cannabis seeds.

If planted and properly cared for, these seeds will produce a plant containing the psychoactive cannabinoid THC and CBD, an active ingredient used to treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety.

However, these seeds are not sold to be planted. By law, cannabis seeds cannot be sold to produce plants for the purpose of producing banned drugs. Instead, they can be legally sold as collectors' items and for decorative purposes.

"The only permitted uses for the seeds sold are collection and the preservation of genetic materials. One should not try to get the seeds to sprout, and they are not guaranteed to sprout," according to the Seeds of Love shop's disclaimer.

Helsingin Sanomat notes that seed collection seems to be a popular hobby. Juha Vihervaara says that his storefront shop sees about 500 customers walk in every week and somewhat fewer in its online shop.

There are several specialist shops in the country dealing primarily in cannabis seeds and paraphernalia, but seeds can also be found on sale by many more mainstream retailers, as well.

Electric snow scooter

From Lapland, where moving around in the snow is a way of life, Lapin Kansa reports on plans for the start of serial production of an innovative means of transport — an electric snow scooter which is being touted as the first of its kind in the world.

eLyly Electric snow scooter.
The eLyly electric snow scooter. Image: eLyly

Pasi Kauppinen of eLyly, the company that has designed the device, told the paper that the official launch of the scooter was planned to take place at the World Cup Levi alpine skiing event this coming weekend, but that launch has been delayed.

Now Kauppinen says that the target is to get the first electric snow scooters on the market by next spring.

Lapin Kansa writes that the scooters are not well suited for use in heavy snow, working best on packed snow or soft snow at depths of 10-15cm.

The first of the scooters are likely to be targeted at commercial operators in the tourism sector. With a projected price tag of 5,000-6,000 euros, they are unlikely to replace granny's traditional kicksled anytime in the near future.

Mediterranean breezes

The Helsinki daily Iltalehti points out the obvious to anyone who has been outside — the weather in Finland is unusually warm for the time of year.

FMI meteorologist Petri Hoppula explained that while the temperatures are unusual, the mechanics of the phenomenon are not. Warm air has been moving up from the south, across Poland and Belarus into the Baltic region.

Warm air is flowing up from the eastern Mediterranean, from Greece and Turkey, where by Finnish standards, it is still full summer.

The weather over the next few days is expected to remain humid, with fog and mist, but little fear of any downpours.

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