Neighboring Businesses, City Leaders Disappointed in 'Last Place' Reopening

By KBJR News 1

April 3, 2013 Updated Apr 3, 2013 at 8:00 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- To the disappointment of Duluth city leaders and many downtown businesses, Last Place on Earth is back open, with a steady stream of clients pouring through the door.

Owner Jim Carlson opened just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday night, and was greeted with applause Wednesday morning to a full day of being open, after a raid and subsequent arrests.

Carlson, 55, is charged four times with 4th degree sale of a controlled substance. His son Joseph Gellerman, 34, is charged with the same crimes.

Both were arrested last Friday, and incarcerated until Tuesday. 'Last Place' reopened just hours after Carlson was released.

Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner says the shop has to go.

"The selling of these synthetic drugs at Last Place on Earth has created a drug culture on the main street of Duluth, Minnesota," said Gardner.

She says the brief shut down shows what that part of downtown could be.

"We have a situation where people feel they can smoke and use these chemicals in public," said Gardner. "It does great harm to them personally and it also creates a lot of fear because their behavior is so erratic."

Carlson says the nuisance created by his customers is supposed to be rectified by the police presence he pays for.

"They're supposed to be shooing those people away and cleaning up the neighborhood and I know some of the neighbors thought things were a lot better after the two police came on January 1st," said Carlson, outside of his store Tuesday night.

Councilor Gardner says she's hoping to propose a new city ordinance before the summer starts, relating to combating synthetic drug use. She didn't want to talk about specifics, but says it could be another tool for the city to use to help solve this problem.

Both Carlson and Gellerman are due back in court on April 24th, and his attorney Randall Tigue says he'll attempt to get the charges dismissed, though Carlson did admit to the Northland's NewsCenter, that he did sell one of the products that authorities say is illegal.

Written for the web by Zach Vavricka
zvavricka@kbjr.com