Judge says Last Place on Earth will Stay Closed

Posted at: 11/05/2013 4:37 PM | Updated at: 11/05/2013 6:12 PM
By: Travis Dill

A judge's ruling will keep the Last Place on Earth closed for a year, and owner Jim Carlson is permanently prohibited from selling synthetic drugs in Duluth.

The City of Duluth has been engaging the Last Place on Earth and Carlson in nuisance cases for almost a year. The store was closed by a temporary injunction on July 19, and the case culminated in the ruling passed by District Court Judge Shaun Floerke on Tuesday.

In that ruling, Floerke granted the City of Duluth a permanent injunction against Carlson and the Last Place on Earth under nuisance law.

Floerke's ruling cited proof that illegal substances were sold at the Last Place on Earth on four separate occasions since August 2012. In his decision, Floerke wrote that was enough to prove the business a nuisance, but Carlson also sold legal synthetics without a license required by city code.

Witnesses demonstrated that selling synthetic drugs endangered the health and safety of the community according to court documents. The ruling cited complaints against Last Place on Earth patrons that included blocking sidewalks, panhandling, and vomiting, urinating, and defecating in downtown businesses' entryways.

In his judgment, Floerke also explained that Carlson was unable or unwilling to comply with the law to abate the nuisance.

City Attorney Gunnar Johnson said Carlson can appeal this ruling, but he said the order closing the store and preventing the sale of synthetic drugs would likely remain in effect.

Carlson remains in custody pending sentencing for federal crimes related to his store.

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