Duluth to Require License to Sell Synthetic Drugs

Posted at: 06/10/2013 10:34 PM | Updated at: 06/11/2013 12:22 AM
By: Alan Hoglund

nullThe City of Duluth is taking new steps in the battle against synthetic drugs.

A measure passed by the city council Monday evening aims to regulate them by requiring a license to sell them. The ordinance was written by Councilors Sharla Gardner and Linda Krug. All but one councilor voted in favor of the plan.

Under the new rules, shops selling synthetic drugs will need a license which will cost $140 per year.

According to the ordinance the businesses must not:

  • Be open between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on any day
  • Be within 500 feet from any church, day care, park, school or residential neighborhood
  • Sell synthetic drug products that don't include name, phone number, address of manufacturer, packer and distributor
  • Sell the products to any individual under the age of 21

While downtown's the Last Place on Earth sells synthetic drugs now, it will be grandfathered in.

Ahead of Monday's meeting, Gardner told Eyewitness News "we regulate everything else in this town. We regulate alcohol, chickens and food trucks...we have to deal with the fact that it [synthetic drugs] are technically legal."

Gardner and Krug both made it clear they in no way condone the use of substances. Gardner said no other councilor condones their use either.

Whether a synthetic drug is legal depends on its chemical composition. One chemical gets banned and manufacturers tweak the recipe. It has prompted frustration among police, as well as city, state and federal leaders.

"Until we have solved this, until it is eradicated from our city, until this business no longer exists I will fight this," Councilor Jennifer Julsrud said.

While Julsrud mentioned a business, she didn't say which business. But Jim Carlson, the owner of Last Place, was at the meeting.

In the last two years police have raided his shop three times and have arrested him and his son. He said "I feel that by licensing the product you are admitting the legality that I have always stated."

Voting against the ordinance was Councilor Jim Stauber.

Stauber said three years ago the council tried to ban synthetic drug products and said "because of our efforts to stop this we have made things worse. So I am very concerned about that."

Also passing the council Monday night, an ordinance making it illegal for anyone to consume products labeled “not for human consumption.”

Both ordinances will take effect in the second week of July.

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