Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- The war against synthetic drugs is quickly becoming a two pronged attack. Legislation is making its way through Congress, banning designer drugs federally. Meanwhile Minnesota's newest state law makes sales of synthetics a felony.
Stores like the Last Place on Earth, that sell these synthetic drugs, are quickly getting outnumbered.
Carlson says, after speaking with his lawyers, is very confident that the newest legislation won't stop him from selling synthetic drugs at his store.
Carlson says the wave of new legislation targeting designer drugs is similar to the propaganda war in the 1930's that targeted marijuana.
"I'm sure these people know nothing about these products, they haven't tried it, they've heard a few things from a few people but the thousands of people I wait on every day aren't having an issue or a problem with it," Carlson said, reacting to the federal legislation.
His position doesn't sit well with Minnesota lawmakers.
"The home chemist and our friendly neighborhood dealer on Superior Street will say we just changed the formula a little bit now it's no longer illegal. Now we think we have a process that will work for that," said State Senator Roger Reinert.
Wednesday morning, Reinert praised the state law that imposes stiffer penalties for synthetic sales, and gives more power to the Board of Pharmacy to ban various chemicals used in making designer drugs. Also this week, Congress is expected to make headway on federal law against synthetic drugs.
"All we are saying is put this on the list of illegal substances so at least people can start to realize that these things can be bad for you," said Minnesota Senator Klobuchar.
This week Senator Klobuchar called on congressional leaders to include a synthetic drug ban provision as part of a much larger bill. Her amendment would ban 2CE and chemicals found in bath salts and incense. Jim Carlson says the federal law is another failed attempted in the war on drugs.
"It's like prohibition. They never learn anything. They war on drugs, they've spent trillions of dollars over the last 50 years and they continue on with it."
Minnesota's state law will go into effect August 1st. The federal legislation is likely to be signed soon.
Senator Klobuchar says that the rise in poison control calls has risen exponentially in the past four years.
In 2010, there were 2,900 calls. There were 6,950 calls in 2011 and already in 2012 there have been close to 2,400. The senator says that's a direct result of synthetic drug use.