Feds Ban Ingredients in Synthetic Marijuana

By KBJR News 1

November 26, 2010 Updated Nov 26, 2010 at 11:20 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - After several local and state governments moved to ban synthetic marijuana, the federal government followed suit this week.

It came as an emergency action taken by the U-S Drug Enforcement Agency and would go into effect 28 days from Friday.

The feds will outlaw five of the chemicals used in the man-made drug to mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but one local vendor of the product in the Twin Ports has his doubts of whether the ban will work.

Jim Carlson, owner of Last Place on Earth In Duluth, sells the so-called "incense" that legally mimicks the high of marijuana.

He says he saw the federal ban coming, but isn't sure it will do its job.

"By banning five ingredients out of 200, all the companies are going to do is to shift to other ingredients, said Carlson.

He's already learned how banning ingredients can be tricky.

Although, it's already banned in Superior and Hermantown, Duluth's ban isn't enforced because of pending litigation with Carlson.

Carlson claims some banned ingredients are used in other products that were still allowed on store shelves.

"I can't see any time in the near future where the city will start enforcing that ordinance. I think it's unrealistic," said Duluth City Council President Jeff Anderson.

The DEA's ban is on the chemicals used to make it - not the item itself.
Minnesota lawmakers called for a statewide ban the same day as the DEA.

"I've always thought from the beginning that this was a state issue, if not a national issue, in terms of regulation and enforcement," said Anderson.

Carlson wonders if the federal ban will also be challenged.

"Somebody could walk in and challenge it and it's not constitutional and we could keep selling it or we could just shift to other ingredients."

Twin Ports vendors agreed to only sell it to those over 18, but it's not that way everywhere.

"Overall, if we can keep a substance out of the hands of kids, that's a good thing. It's a win," said Anderson.

For Duluth, a city that jumped to tackle the issue before higher governments, may still have to fight with Carlson.

Carlson said he's unsure what his next move against the city's ordinance will be, but he may continue to fight it.

There has been talk among city council members of how much money they would be willing to spend in litigation.

Not every councilor is on board to use lots of tax dollars enforce Duluth's ordinance again, but now that higher governments have stepped in, there's a chance they may not have to.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike