Duluth City Council Plans to Vote on Synthetic Drug Ordinances

By KBJR News 1

June 10, 2013 Updated Jun 10, 2013 at 7:02 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- A vote Monday by the Duluth City Council could change how synthetic drug sales are regulated in the city.

The council is expected to decide on a pair of ordinances authored by councilors Sharla Gardner and Linda Krug.

The first prohibits the consumption of products labeled "not for human consumption," stating that this ban will provide better public health and safety. Many of the products called incense at Last Place on Earth are labeled "not for human consumption".

The second ordinance does a couple of different things, including defining a synthetic drug as a substance that any reasonable person would believe is a synthetic drug.

It also sets up a licensing system for shops that sell synthetics and stops sales within 500 feet of a school, daycare, park, residential or mixed use neighborhood.

Councilors Gardner and Krug say these actions would send a message that the city is doing something to address, what they see, as a problem in downtown Duluth.

"We want him to stop selling the synthetics, if we could possibly get him to do that, but being that we can't do that, then we're going to regulate them," said Gardner.

"If we follow this up with good enforcement, aggressive police enforcement, I think we've might have hit on something," said Krug.

While Carlson would have to apply for a license to sell synthetic drugs. The Last Place on Earth would be grandfathered in and would not have to meet the requirement that synthetic drug shops be located 500 feet from schools and parks.

If passed, both ordinances will go into affect in 30 days.

Jim Carlson, owner of Duluth's downtown headshop Last Place on Earth said if the ordinances pass, including a requirement that he get his shop licensed, then the city is admitting the substances he sells at Last Place on Earth are legal.

He also stresses that he has always said sales of synthetic drugs should be regulated.

Zach Vavricka

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