Jim Carlson: Controversial to Some, Leader to Others

By KBJR News 1

August 1, 2012 Updated Aug 1, 2012 at 10:45 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands Newscenter)
-- Duluth's Last Place on Earth is coming up on its 30 year anniversary. Its owner, Jim Carlson, has become one of the Northlands most controversial figures since his synthetic drugs became a target for authorities and the public.

It's been a busy year for Last Place on Earth Owner Jim Carlson.

Authorities have raided his downtown business twice...he announced his intention to run for president...lawmakers have crafted state and federal laws making his synthetic drugs illegal. For Carlson, it's part of the stores history.

"Every decade they go after something different. One decade they don't like pornography but pipes are OK and a decade later the pipes aren't ok. They switch from one thing to the next," said Carlson, standing outside of Last Place on Earth.

Carlson's store has been around for 30 years. Records were the first thing he sold until the big music chains took his business, and he then concentrated on pipes, adult films, and martial arts products.

Carlson has a history of dealing with law enforcement ever since he opened the doors to Last Place close to 30 years ago and he credits his ability to fight back to his father, who was also a business owner in Downtown Duluth, who also had his own run in's with the law as well.

"When I was a little kid, they used to arrest him for selling pornography because the government thought it was so harmful to the public that it should be banned publicly," said Carlson.

Now, Carlson is leading the charge, with a growing following among other head shop owners, united against the government for drug legalization.

"He's Fearless, he's absolutely fearless. I think it's madness were doing this war on drugs and I think Jim is showing that. He's showing that this is crazy. It's absolutely crazy," said Headshop Owner Tom Tepley.

Carlson's hoping that one day, he will be able to sell natural marijuana, but until then, he will continue to sell incense, that is unless police intervene.

There is an on going criminal investigation against Carlson and his store. No charges have been filed against him after two raids.