Federal Ruling Upholds Duluth Synthetic Ordinances

By KBJR News 1

July 18, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - An official ruling on whether Last Place on Earth will need a license to continue with synthetic sales has just been given to the city of Duluth.

City officials are delighted with the Federal judge's decision which says the new city ordinances relating to synthetic sales will stand.

Federal Judge Michael Davis said Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson failed to demonstrate that applying for a license would violate federal laws.

The judge said Carlson also failed to show that he would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction to block the licensing requirement were not issued.

The judge said under the ordinance Carlson would still be able to operate his business and would, at most, be subject to a civil fine if he were found to have violated that ordinance.

While the city said it's pleased with the ruling, Carlson said the possible fine won't stop him from selling synthetics.

"This is a victory for the city and of the entire community. This means these ordinances get to go forward. We've already seen these ordinances are effective. We were confident going forward that they were constitutional. Today the court decided exactly that," said Fanning, shortly after reading the ruling.

"There's nothing in the ordinances about any fine at all and what the amount is, how often they do it or anything else, so we're just going to wait and see and I'm sure they'll be giving us a ticket and we'll go from there, but we are selling," said LPOE owner, Jim Carlson.

The ordinance also prohibits the consumption of products labeled "not for human consumption" and defines a synthetic drug as a substance that any reasonable person would believe is a synthetic drug.

Carlson, who started selling synthetics without a license within minutes after the ruling was released, says he's frustrated with the decision, saying that the definition of a "reasonable person" is too subjective.

Carlson also voiced concern over the punishment for selling without a license, saying the fine that he is now facing is too vague.

At the close of business Thursday, Carlson had not been cited for selling the products without a license.

- Posted to the web by Billy Wagness