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A solution to the LPOE problem?

So, I haven’t read every post and comment related to the Last Place on Earth here on PDD, so maybe this connection has already been made, but hearing about voters in Washington and Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana use makes me think if they can do it out there, maybe we can do it here. Then maybe, just maybe, the LPOE wouldn’t have to sell the “legal alternatives” that seem to be way more harmful than the real stuff. Or do you think this would even make a difference? Would people still line up for incense and bath salts or whatever the heck it is they sell there, even if marijuana was legal?

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31 Comment(s)

  1. Why didn’t I think of that??

    Hot Shot | Nov 7, 2012 | New Comment
  2. Does anyone know what the price differential between “spice” and real herb is? The last time I checked, top shelf mary jane sold for about $225-250/oz via dispensaries in CO. If “spice” is significantly cheaper there might be a financial obstacle to overcome in changing users over to the natural product.

    digit3 | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Most of the interviews I have seen with users indicate that the reason why they tried the stuff was because Marijuana was illegal and this stuff was not.

    Probably a cop-out for many of them, but that does not mean that most of them might avoid trying these “alternatives” if it was, indeed, legal.

    The legal alternatives have varying price points, but from what I have read most people are spending $30 on a 2-3 day supply. I believe that the difference in price vs duration would be negligible if people chose lower grade MJ.

    But this has been discussed in the past, and Carlson has always cited the fact that MaryJane is illegal for his reasoning behind selling the alternatives.

    It will likely become legalized in Minnesota soon, but that all depends on the outcome of the situations in Washington and Colorado.

    Dorkus | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  4. Of course there is still the whole federal law issue, that will be interesting to see how that plays out in CO and WA.

    meb | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  5. The other thing you have to realize is that I think a lot of people smoke the fake stuff because they can’t smoke actual mj due to restrictions from employers. Making it legal wouldn’t necessarily change that though it may soften attitudes.

    z_man | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  6. True, z_man. Initially that was one of the biggest draws — spice doesn’t show up on drug tests.

    adam | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Bottom line is the LPOE draws a loitering crowd that detracts from everything around it. Move the LPOE next the the holiday center and call it a day. I’m joking here.

    I remember going to the LPOE when it was a nice novelty head shop (nice is probably not the right word here). I thought it was a great novelty shop to be downtown and it didn’t feel very sketchy at all. That being said, I think those days are over and the only way out is the closure of the place.

    johnjaundice | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  8. And no, legalizing would not do anything I don’t think. The stuff is easy enough to get being illegal so that wouldn’t change and the drug tests and prices would still deter users who are currently doing the nasty synthetic stuff.

    johnjaundice | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  9. I’ve been saying this for months. But the LPOE thing is just a frame of reference. Marijuana should be legalized because it is the right thing to do.

    I reject notions of “decriminalizing” marijuana. What Colorado is talking about is pot that is grown, marketed and sold in the state itself, it is regulated, and, very importantly, taxed. (Although I think the funds should just go into the general fund, not earmarked).

    What affect would this have on the LPOE? We don’t know. The LPOE has been around Duluth for as long as I can remember, and I can remember back pretty far. During that time it has always been considered unsavory by the upright citizens brigade-types. I don’t think that legalizing pot would end the LPOE, nothing will. It’s an institution and it’s here for good. Kinda like the mercury in the bottom of all our lakes and rivers.

    Among the many benefits to legalization would be that (I think) there would be less demand for that poisonous synthetic stuff. And manufacturers could quit playing the “spin the active ingredient bottle” game that they have been doing. The active ingredient will be marijuana. Period.

    Digit3 raises a valid point on the price point consideration. I had not thought of that. However, the example of Apple’s I-tunes store leaps to mind. In the Napster days of the wild-wild late 1990s people thought that the record industry was over. That was partly correct, but downloads from I-Tunes, followed by Google music, and Amazon, etc. do rake in some serious coin from people like me who want to get music fast, get it clean, and ensure quality control. I can imagine something similar with pot. People who want locally grown, sustainably harvested (ie without the bloodshed of Mexican cartels on their hands), and with good quality control. People could be brewing beer, fermenting wine and distilling alcohol at home now and selling it on the black market, too. But there doesn’t seem to be a real problem with that today. There was during alcohol prohibition.

    I’m formulating a belief that the MN Legislature should use it’s leverage with an all-DFL line-up not to hammer through a divisive tax bill or even same sex marriage but instead should grow its political capital and MN revenue streams, (not to mention small farmers) by legalizing pot. If the world doesn’t end then in two years they can pursue that other stuff. Like I said, it’s still a strategy that I am formulating, maybe it’s a big waste of time.

    wildgoose | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  10. I used to think legalizing marijuana was the remedy for this scourge. But now, as I see it, it’s similar to consumers that buy Monster Energy Drink when gourmet, shade-grown, fair trade coffee is legal and available everywhere. Decriminalizing marijuana is still the answer to many other problems, and the right thing to do. I just don’t see it making a dent in the line outside LPOE.

    yoniohno | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  11. Yoniohno -- that analogy you just made is so great it makes me want to light myself on fire. Hot dang!

    johnjaundice | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  12. On a related note- I just received this invite via LinkedIn. Quite a strong (yet understandable) position for the Chamber of Commerce to take against a local business:

    Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Stand with Us -- Shoulder to Shoulder In Opposition to Last Place on Earth This Friday, November 9 10:00 am County Court House, Judge Floerke’s Courtroom -- 3rd Floor Our goal is simple -- send a strong message to the court that business leaders are tired of putting up with the problems generated by Last Place on Earth. Let’s fill the County Court House to capacity, and beyond, to hear the City of Duluth’s motion for an injunction against the Last Place on Earth

    jen | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  13. If it does come up one day that we are given the option on a ballot to legalize marijuana here, what if we also made the synthetic illegal? I mean, I’m sure there have been many attempts to make it illegal already and I don’t know the background on that, but does anyone think that tradeoff would be plausible?

    excusemeprincess | Nov 8, 2012 | New Comment
  14. @wildgoose- I agree, legalization is the right thing to do. I am hopeful that when the gen x and gen y folks are fully running the show that gay marriage and recreational pot use will be legal. Hell, maybe even someday we Minnesotans will be able to buy a 6-pack on a Sunday in a grocery store. I agree that legalization would not shut the LPOE down, but would hopefully decrease the demand for the chemical cocktail “legal” crap.

    @yoniohno, I get what you are saying with your analogy, however, I have to disagree with you that high-quality coffee is available “everywhere” yet some people still drink neon-colored, odd-tasting energy drinks. The energy drinks are far more ubiquitous than high-quality coffee, and cost a lot less. So, until said coffee is available for $0.99 and at every gas station and vending machine, the analogy doesn’t quite work.
    The same would probably hold true for pot. If it’s legal but way too expensive, the folks we see spending their days loitering outside the LPOE will probably still be there. As for accessibility, it’s my impression that the “legal” stuff isn’t available everywhere, which is why it is such a problem here, with people coming from other states to get it.

    I like wildgoose’s point that during prohibition, way more people found a way to make their own alcohol than do today. It doesn’t totally work though with this situation because as far as I know, there were no “legal alternatives” to booze back in the 1920s. It’s more like saying if weed is legalized, fewer people will be growing it in their basements.

    Then there is also the possibility that people will simply prefer the “legal” crap they are smoking now. Hopefully if weed is ever legalized the quality, price, and availability will completely displace the demand for the synthetic stuff.

    meb | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  15. The price of herbal incense varies quite significantly for each seller. It is usually cheaper than marijuana though.

    There is no way recreational use will be upheld by the feds. Medicinal use they don’t have a problem with.

    I agree that upright citizens, the police and surrounding businesses dislike LPOE and its location. It should be moved out of the downtown area for sure. Shutting down LPOE is a mistake though. The store brings in tons of money via taxes from sales which helps the city (e.g. the recent flood and tourism ads).

    Legalizing herbal incense like marijuana would be a solution and would spread out sellers. People may become more acceptable of it as well. Never going to happen though.

    HockSean10nis | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  16. If it were legal, they should stop screening for pot in drug tests. Aren’t drug tests to screen for illegal drugs? Maybe I’m being naive.

    quirtep | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  17. Yes, quirtep, drug tests would probably still screen for marijuana if it were legal. Most drug tests I’ve encountered check for alcohol as well as illegal drugs. People generally don’t want their airline pilots and school bus drivers to be on any kind of debilitating substance, legal or not.

    Barrett Chase | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  18. @meb, Actually I think you grok my analogy precisely: Monster and “spice” = cheap trash from a chem lab. Marijuana and coffee = gifts from god. And if you’ve got a taste for the high grade, you pay for it.

    yoniohno | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  19. Something that I don’t have the answer to:
    How does the “spice” buzz compare/contrast to the THC buzz? What if the folks who stand in line for spice at LPOE actually find the THC high to be substandard to spice? I realize that it is hard to grasp such an idea for some folks but I know people who prefer LSD over mushrooms.

    digit3 | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  20. @digit3 -- that is essentially my question: even if the real stuff is legal, would some people actually prefer and continue to use the fake stuff.

    And even if it were legal, I would suspect that some employers would and could still test employees, for the reasons Barrett mentioned.

    meb | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  21. @yoniohno, I think a better way to look at it is this way,

    there is good coffee and there is bad coffee. Most people would love to drink the good coffee you spoke of: organic, fair trade, shade grown, etc etc, but it is more expensive and not always available. Sometimes, when you are at the Holiday gas station, and in the middle of North Dakota, bad coffee is your only option, and, it’s cheap. Same with pot. Expensive good pot and cheap bad pot. And as with most cheap things, I imagine bad pot is easier to come across than good pot, but I honestly don’t know.

    Monster, Rockstar, et al are similar to coffee as far as effect, but as you and I know, a far lower quality product. Yet some people prefer it over good or bad coffee.

    Not saying I don’t agree with your analogy, but just wanted to clarify it a bit. So basically your point is well taken, some people might simply prefer the high, the taste, or whatever of the synthetic stuff over the real, natural stuff. Scary.

    meb | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  22. Luckily, the minnesota house and senate flipped to democrat. The democratic controlled legislaiture sent three MJ legalization bills to Pawlenty, and each was vetoed. Dayton would be unlikely to do the same thing. Call your legislators.

    lojasmo | Nov 9, 2012 | New Comment
  23. Has anyone who writes here tried the stuff? Or are we all pot smokers?

    Carla | Nov 10, 2012 | New Comment
  24. Nobody in their right mind would. Most of the folks here seem to have at least a modicum of common sense, except Paul. They know how to log on, and form sentences sometimes. Why would you buy this shit which costs about as much as weed? If you want to see a group of brainless people, look no further than the line of incense addicts at Carlsons… It’s breathtaking.

    Here, hold my baby for a minute.

    Herzog | Nov 10, 2012 | New Comment
  25. Clarification Meb,

    I think that if pot were legalized that it might very likely be something that way more people than now grow at home. However, they are less likely to be selling it on the black market if the black market dries up. I think that home brewed beer and wine and homegrown pot is a great way for people to enjoy those hobbies. Buying pot from drug dealers and the dealers themselves and the cartels and gangs that manage distribution networks are my big issue with the illegal pot trade.

    wildgoose | Nov 10, 2012 | New Comment
  26. Quirtep, I believe that although it is legal on the State level, employers would test and fire employees citing Federal law which states MJ is still illegal and over rules State law.

    Jadiaz | Nov 10, 2012 | New Comment
  27. This is a really good conversation -- something that seems to have the weight to bring it to a broader public audience. I love it!

    erinnschrupp | Nov 11, 2012 | New Comment
  28. Someone ought to step forward and offer to smoke some incense for purely scientific purposes, and share their observances with the class. I’d do it myself but I have asthma, plus my wife wouldn’t let me. She’s no fun when it comes to ingesting dangerous chemicals.

    Chris | Nov 12, 2012 | New Comment
  29. I prefer to keep my smokings as … organic as possible, thanks. | Nov 12, 2012 | New Comment
  30. OK -- next time I am in Duluth I will try it.

    Carla | Nov 13, 2012 | New Comment
  31. So I believe fully that marijuana should be legalized, and it will happen in the near future, this is inevitable. When this happens, Jim Carlson probably thinks he is going to make a haul here in Duluth. The thing that he and others don’t realize is, dealership requires licensure, just like a liquor license. Good luck getting one of those in this city Jim.

    Jim Carlson is a blight on this city!

    charged_4_life | Nov 15, 2012 | New Comment

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