Last Place on Earth raided

JimCarlsonAt 1:02 p.m. today Duluth Police executed a search warrant at the Last Place On Earth, a head shop at 120 E. Superior St.

According to police, the search warrant is part of an ongoing investigation into the sale of “illegal synthetic marijuana,” and Last Place will remain closed until investigators have cleared the scene.

No arrests have been made, so whether illegal products were being sold along with legal ones is yet to be determined.

Designer drugs were the subject of cover stories in the Duluth News Tribune and Star Tribune on Sunday.

DNT: Synthetic drugs bring new rush hour to downtown Duluth
Strib: Bath salts hit U.S. ‘like a freight train’

71 Comments

MIlo

about 10 years ago

The Duluth Police Department needs to keep the fuck out of other peoples' business. Fuck you, big brother.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

On one hand, it's hard to disagree with Last Place owner Jim Carlson's basic point that there will always be people taking both legal and illegal substances and causing harm to themselves and others, and the race to outlaw some of these substances is kind of an endless losing battle -- there will always be something else.

On the other hand, Carlson is making a gob of money off people who are obvious addicts, so it's hard to see what he's doing as anything but a sad detriment to society. 

On the third hand, some people can't wait for bars and liquor stores to open in the morning. They just don't form lines because there are a lot more places to buy hooch than bath salt.

(See the way I'm being rational with my comment? Try following my lead.)

Steven

about 10 years ago

I had a relative from Rochester ask me about this place last weekend; he apparently has heard about it and the related issues from their local paper.  

I am tired of Duluth being defined by its deviants.  

If this place is breaking the law (and that part is a little fuzzy to me at this point, I will be honest), it should be made to face the music.

Iron Oregon

about 10 years ago

I don't have a problem with this place. I just wish it wasn't downtown affecting everyone's image of Duluth. Relocate to the new Dinkytown!

Dan

about 10 years ago

Slow day @ the cop shop I guess.

Sharon Connlley

about 10 years ago

It is sad to me, that we are loseing our freedom of choice, 1 choice at a time, this to me is backwords; Think about it !!! Long and hard, we have freedoms we deserve and fought for and they are being taken from us  CHOICE CHOICE CHOICE, to buy or not buy, smoke or not smoke (cigerettes) enter a business or not enter a business, whats next !!!!!!!!!!!!

Wes Scott

about 10 years ago

Bath Salts? People are dim bulbs! 
Life sucks so bad you need to do that?

@ndy

about 10 years ago

Just to clarify, an arrest has been made (the DNT story was updated recently):

Duluth police seize cash, guns, computer from fake pot shop

I'm not going to wade into the 'loss of our freedoms' argument because it is a bottomless pit of endless disagreement, and frankly, in this instance, pretty stupid. Aside from that, what Mr. Carlson did was flagrantly illegal. He knew that it was illegal. He knew his store was going to be raided. He can fight the legal battle of his life up to the MN Supreme Court if he'd like and I honestly think it will be an interesting case. But, I can't see how he can be defended from a moral standpoint. Taking advantage of drug addicts on a daily basis is despicable, legal or not.

For anyone wanting some background on the issue, the Star Tribune recently published an excellent piece: 

He dares Duluth to shut his head shop 

Rougement

about 10 years ago

This sounds ridiculous. If he's selling products which are illegal then all it would take one undercover cop to pop down and take some merchandise back for analysis. 

If his stuff isn't illegal (yet) then police time and our taxes would be better spent dealing with actual crime.

Of course, there is a wider question of why adults should be told what they can and can't put in their bodies. Not to mention the potential dangers of new synthetic drugs which are used because the old, tried and tested ones like cannabis, while benign, are still outlawed and screened for.

DaVe

about 10 years ago

Do people really get addicted to that fake pot and "bath-salts/incense" shit? Legalize it all and let Darwin sort it out.

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

Dumb on many levels.

Depending on the substance, it is stupid the stuff is illegal (it is certainly stupid that pot is illegal)

It was stupid of the owner to allow an illegal substance to be. Peddled in the store, either openly, or clandestinely.

Ramos

about 10 years ago

It may be true that the customers of the Last Place on Earth are "obvious addicts", as Lundgren very rationally asserts. So are a lot of other people. Just think if there was only one store in Duluth that sold cigarettes, and it opened at 10 a.m.

I think the LPOE should move to a new, bigger location and install drive-through lanes. That way, I could easily pick up a few grams of Fear and Loathing while running my other errands, instead of having to wait in line for twenty minutes.

On a related note, the Camel company has entered the herbal incense business. The LPOE now offers Smokin' Camel Potpourri, complete with Joe Camel's familiar face, at a very reasonable 5 grams for $26.

zra

about 10 years ago

"We are all on so many drugs with the TV on and the curtains closed."

@ndy

about 10 years ago

Here's a Star Trib article ... a bit more comprehensive than the DNT's: 

Police raid Duluth head shop for synthetic drugs

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

Alright:  this synthetic shit is not safe.  

I will keep to the good, old fashioned American clones.

Gwen

about 10 years ago

While the Star Trib does seem to have more info, does anyone else notice that according to them the raid takes place tomorrow, it only being Wednesday and all?  I lived in a building with a few of the LPOE customers, and honestly speaking from an outside POV (nonuser). That stuff made my formerly intelligent neighbors, morons, even worse than normal pot, on pot, the guys just chilled and got hungry fast. On this new stuff, they got nauseous, cranky and aggravated to no end.

Ramos

about 10 years ago

After further investigation, the Smokin' Camel brand appears to be a ripoff of the real Camel. I should have known it was too good a story to be true.

Michele

about 10 years ago

I for one am glad they raided this place. As for being "free" to use whatever you want legal or illegal, I am TIRED of taking care of these people after their substance of choice infects whatever limb they injected it into. What you don't see are the medical costs we are racking up caring for these dim bulbs. Until our hospitals are free to turn away these patients who were using these "recreational" drugs, because they don't want government telling them what they can or can't do, let's extend that to their medical care as well. Sorry for the rant, but I just wish a lawyer would start advertising for a lawsuit on behalf of all the people who have been hospitalized in the past couple years, make it unprofitable for LPOE to continue this irresponsible behavior.

BO

about 10 years ago

Jim Carlson is a patriot. I applaud his efforts to get all of us talking and thinking about this. If he wants to use his (ill-gotten?) money to fight this legal battle (Larry Flynt) we will all be better for it. 

On the other hand, I would think twice before putting any of these chemicals into my body. At least we know what the long-term effects of alcohol and marijuana are.

mega mildred

about 10 years ago

That's right, how dare you dodge the police-court-attorney-prison complex surrounding drug prohibition!!

But then, this stuff is total crap. I don't like bath salts being lumped together with the fake pot though, that's stupid. Bath salts=weird ecstasy/meth, fake pot=fake pot, in case anyone needs a check on that. If real pot was legal, NOBODY would smoke this untested synthetic crap-sprayed-on-lettuce. 

The dude was being way flagrant, though and is truly a terrible citizen of the city. Sell your junk, fine - do it somewhere other than on main street, please? And how about ditching the four foot tall sign that says 'URINE'? Truly tasteless.

adam

about 10 years ago

I hope they have their "i's" dotted and "t's" crossed. He's not the first Carlson willing to take it all the way to the Supreme Court if given the opportunity.

Ronda C. Elstad

about 10 years ago

Last Place has been a landmark in Duluth for 30 years(?) and hit the radar a few times. I agree, pull the bath salts and alternatives to meth. 
However, my problem is not with what Last Place sells or doesn't sell. It is the repeated news articles stereotyping who visits that shop, and the continued references back to the bath salts as if that is all they sell and what everyone wants. As for who "hangs" around outside, well now the downtown boardwalk system, the plaza shopping center, DTA/Holiday Centers, half the bus stops, alleys, and the casino should be free of the bums, drunks and panhandlers. They all found another place to group, around this store. That doesn't mean they are customers, or are a true depiction of the real customers. 

What people buy there is their business, they are adults. Alcohol and tobacco are abused every second of every day and how many die, every second, every day. Still we have rights and freedoms, these are being kicked in the teeth. The Duluth Police Dept. were not addressing the issue, they focused on the people going in and out of the store and not who was hanging around outside, obviously not there to shop but to harass. Most of them drunk on legal alcohol, which sorry you can't buy at Last Place. 
Finally, I hope Mr. Carlson does make millions. I feel better having a local business man making good, than alcohol, drug and tobacco companies making their millions.

Codie

about 10 years ago

"Local merchant selling questionable substances to local vagrants gets shut down by authorities"

Gosh, I just love how small-town this is.

But personally, I don't like the idea of businesses randomly getting raided. A raid is never a good time. I think there should have been more public discussion before the police took such aggressive measures.

That said, people shouldn't be smoking this fake bake. I don't get why, if the government is going to outlaw drugs, why not just make it a general rule that "if it gets you high, it's illegal." Now there's all these loopholes. And now the relatively safe stuff is illegal, while all of this dangerous alternative stuff is on the shelves. WTF

(Also, the Help Wanted sign in the Star Tribune article might piss off the Republicans because they'll think that government is out to kill small business, lol)

Codie

about 10 years ago

"Them Main Street America job creators..."

jwilferling

about 10 years ago

Has anyone stopped to consider how much press (and store traffic) every one of these LPOE fake drug "controversies"  generates for the store? As much as I despise the stupid fake dope craze I have been seeing develop in Duluth, Jim Carlson is, at the end of the day, a shrewd businessman, and spot on in his legal/political views. Don't want street kids spanging tourists to buy fake dope? Don't blame the shop owner, do something about your street kid problem! (and by this I don't mean a civil-rights violating loitering law)

Question

about 10 years ago

From the Trib:

"DULUTH - Jim Carlson knew police might one day raid his head shop in downtown Duluth, where he continued to sell synthetic marijuana and so-called bath salts after state and federal bans on synthetic drugs. On Wednesday, his prediction came true."

hbh1

about 10 years ago

Okay, is it Lundgren or Guggemos who has my packet on R.O. Carlson in the 1960s? Now I'm wanting to read it all again, because the similarities here are uncanny.

See, old Mr. Carlson used to have a whole franchise of bookstores across Minnesota. He started out as a magazine recycling business, found out that he could sell packets of underwear ads to men hungry for pictures of half-clothed girls, and eventually started selling porn. To adults. Morality laws existed then, and even adults couldn't buy pictures of other naked adults, not to mention read salacious stories like Tropic of Cancer and The Story of O. It would corrupt society, you see, and especially corrupt the youth. Kids would get their hands on these things and it would make them perverts. Finally, some politician (actually I think it might have been a district attorney), got his panties in a bunch and started arresting Old Man Carlson (then a much younger man) on a regular basis, shuttering his store so many times that he had a sign made for the door that said something like, "Gone to Jail, Back in a Few Hours." And guess what, our own small-time Larry Flynt took that case all the way to the Supreme Court and he won. And now the world has gone to hell because adults (and anyone else, I guess) can look at naked pictures whenever they want. Yes, there are those of you out there who will say that only perverts look at stuff like that, that they are addicts, and they have ruined society. But guess what? The majority of America thinks what you do with your eyes and under your sheets is between you and your iPhone, as long as you've reached the mythical age of 18. 

So here we are, nearly 50 years later, and another Carlson (who only recently has reconciled with his aging father, and would probably punch me if I said he was a chip off the old block) is pricking the legal authorities with the absurdity of their stance on what adults might want to put inside their bodies. It has all the makings of a good case, if he gets a decent lawyer. Why, after all, are some substances that kill you illegal and others are legal. Is it really all about how it gets you high or is it about what chemicals are contained? They already made spray paint illegal for kids under 18, right? I have to show my ID every time I go to the Walgreens to buy nasal decongestant because somebody might want to make meth out of it, right down to the inconvenience of being denied the purchase of said substance if it goes above a certain amount in a month. So in other words, I can't buy Claritin-D for my sick partner or teenager if I've already bought my allotment for the month. Does that mean I have to drag someone down with me, despite their illness? What if they don't have a driver's license? Absurdity rules.) 

It can't be about how it kills people, because then alcohol and cigarettes would be illegal. It can't be about how it makes you act stupidly or criminally, because there are tons of things out there that make people act stupidly or criminally. (Including poverty, which I would say may or may not be illegal these days.)  So what is it? It can't even be because it makes you high, since alcohol has been making us high since time immemorial. So I guess what it comes down to is power and control over our bodies. Guess who owns us? 

Not everyone in that line is a vagrant or an addict. I admit to having purchased a packet of that incense when it first came out because a friend of mine was curious -- but was too worried about being seen purchasing it. (I didn't try it myself.) 

What it comes down to is a matter of privilege. If you're on probation, and you get caught getting high with pot, you'll go back to jail. All those natural marijuana users out there have the privilege of their connections and their legal-entanglement-free status, and they don't have to buy some chemical knockoff of the real thing. It has been shown again and again that the privileged among us, those who have jobs and status generally don't get busted for drug use/abuse and those who don't have those things find themselves in a revolving door between despair and court.

I won't pass judgement on Carlson Jr. for his attempts to make a living. And I will applaud him for his insistence that adults (should) have rights to consume whatever they want. I wish some big-time lawyer would step up and take this to the top, because it should bring the conversation back to that level: why don't adults have the right over their own eyes and bodies, as long as they aren't hurting anyone? 

My only worry is that it all will bankrupt him and embitter him. Because without that fight back in the sixties -- Old Man Carlson's stubbornness about the right to sell porn -- history might not have gone as it did. Let's hope Carlson the younger has not set himself up for a long fight that will repeat history.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

*Actually, I'm not even sure the elder Carlson won his case at the Supreme Court level. I think it just wound out so long that the morality police gave up. Times changed.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I returned that packet to you 10 years ago, HBH1. Adam might have it now.

I thought I had posted some of the old R. O. Carlson stuff on PDD before, but I guess I didn't. It's probably worth a separate post, rather than adding it to the comments here. So I'll get on that.

As for what should be legal and what shouldn't be legal, there seems to be three options:

1) Ban everything remotely dangerous. Good luck with that, and enjoy the PBS documentary Prohibition, premiering Oct. 2.

2) Legalize everything, which probably makes sense, since even the worst drug is about as dangerous as handling a gun -- safe in some hands, fatal consequences in others. Although this seems simple, however, it's not. If everything is legal, there's still the matter of whether it's FDA approved or not. So, for example, once the FDA determines cocaine is not safe for ingestion, it becomes a black-market product -- unless we do away with the FDA and make it legal to produce tainted meat. Caveat emptor, suckahs!

3) Keep changing the rules based on society's whims. Not ideal, but a nice compromise between options #1 and #2.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

I agree with everything that HBH1 said so well, and yet ... I agree that the government should stay out of our business ... except when other people's actions endanger me.  

And so:  I think every rational person believes pot should be legalized.  It's certainly less dangerous than alcohol, and no more dangerous than cigarettes.  But what about meth?  Cocaine?  Unlimited Xanax without a prescription?  "Synthetic" (i.e. grossly dangerous) whatever?  

Okay, legalize everything, but come down hard on people being dangerous, e.g. while out driving intoxicated.  Well, in Wisconsin, you can get an operating while intoxicated with even a trace of THC in your system, e.g. the pot you smoked last week, and which does not now make you a remotely dangerous driver.

I dunno -- all I know is that the ridiculous drug laws we have now make the situation at LPOE inevitable.  People will always, always, want or need to get away from themselves for a little while.

B-man

about 10 years ago

I agree with Michelle- you can not poison yourself for "recreation" and then expect free medical care for the effects of said poison.  

If you are receiving government subsidized health care you should need to pass a tox screen that includes; nicotine, alcohol, THC, meth, cocaine, whatever is in bath salts, and this fake pot stuff.  That way your choice does not cost me money for your short-sighted choices.  

As far as what the LPOE sells? Whatever they want to.  "Don't be-front me none."

@milo- the Duluth Police are designated to be in other people's business, that is kind of the point of the police.  A world without police is something you do not want.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Who is going to pay for those screenings, B-man? Sorry, it comes out of your pocket one way or the other!

hbh1

about 10 years ago

B-man, by your logic, anyone who does something deliberately stupid that causes themselves harm should be denied subsidized health care. Who's going to draw those lines? How about riding an ATV without a helmet? How about jumping off the rocks at the Deeps? How about skiing down the black diamond hill when you're only a bunny? Driving too fast on a slippery road?

I think the poor deserve just as much health care as anyone else. IQ shouldn't come into the mix.

Sinatra

about 10 years ago

Government subsidy should come along with the requirement to give back to society, buying bath salts to get cranked on with your welfare check doesn't do that. If people were required to stay clean and provide service in return for welfare, we'd have a lot less "poor" and a lot more clean streets. Then we could focus resources on the really needy and real desperate, not the "able slackers." 

I do blame the addict. They picked their poison, no one is forcing them to do it, so they can choose to do the hard work of kicking their habit. I also think pot should be legal, just like the more destructive liquor we can get now. I'm a progressive social liberal, I'm proud to call myself a socialist ... but I'm not an advocate of the welfare state. To get, you should have to give. I applaud the DPD and city of Duluth for making life hard for the LPOE skanks on either side of that counter.

Patty

about 10 years ago

The problem with the argument that anyone who needs government assistance or publicly funded medical care should not be allowed to make stupid choices is this:  that would leave only people in certain financial situations the right to be foolish.  While I understand the frustration of paying for the consequences of bad choices, we can't start restricting our assistance to only those who have problems through no fault of their own.  What about people who eat a bad diet and suffer illness and ailments from that?  Or people who don't exercise?  Do we test for alcohol and tobacco use before allowing folks in to subsidized housing?  This sort of thing is the worst kind of class warfare.

Who wants to live in a world where we allow arbitrary judgments to determine who we help?  I'm not defending such bad choices, but there's often a lot of things we don't know that lead people down the wrong road.  Do we only help those who fall on hard times through no fault of their own?  Find the person who never made a mistake and forget the others?  I don't think so.

B-man

about 10 years ago

Spending money on recreational drugs = less money spent on basic needs= increased dependance on welfare.

@Patty, many jobs/ insurance companies/ organizations/ unions/ sports teams do test for "illegal" substances, and have every right to discriminate against people who choose to use legal substances that have proven negative effects.  If you have private health care you pay a higher premium if you use tobacco ... because you are more likely to need more expensive treatment. 

Why is this standard not carried over to people asking for a hand up? 

As far as food goes, we can restrict the choices people using food support have by giving every food in a grocery store a letter grade depending on its nutritional value.  Carrots get an A while Mountain Dew gets an F.  Food stamps would only be allowed to be used on C grade or higher food, which in return, again, decreases medical bills.

Remember, getting social service handouts is a choice. Choosing to make yourself ineligible for these services would also be the individuals choice. 

@Paul -- Damn it! You are right.

I'm not trying to thread jack and I agree that adult people can do what they want.  I just get annoyed when they choose to be destructive and I end up paying the bill.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

I couldn't agree with B-man more.  Well said.

Cory Fechner

about 10 years ago

@B-man - AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I don't know, I think B-man just offered us another plan to save tax dollars through increased bureaucracy. But his point is understood.

adam

about 10 years ago

I got it, HBH.

@ndy

about 10 years ago

Not to accuse anyone here of jumping on a half-witted 'get the government off my back' bandwagon, because the arguments thus far make a lot of sense, but since when do we not expect the government to tell us what we can and can't do?

We have to obey speed limits, buy car insurance, obey zoning regulations, pay taxes, wear clothes, shovel our sidewalk, get a license to drive a car and operate certain businesses, etc. I can do a lot of things which are legally prohibited without harming anyone. And I can do a lot of things which are legally prohibited without putting anyone but myself at risk of harm. But they are illegal for a reason. Do those reasons make a whole lot of sense with respect to some particular applications? No. But overall, they allow for a more organized, peaceful, and generally enjoyable society.

I am fully supportive of eliminating government regulations that prevent little or no harm, at the expense of freedoms valued by citizens. But, there has to be some sort of cost-benefit analysis. If not being permitted to threaten you with death infringes upon my right of speech, but spares you mental anguish, fear, etc., then perhaps it should remain illegal. Likewise, if some minority of our community (few of whom would extol the virtues of fake drugs were they not addicts) enjoy a cheap, legal high, but the cost is them harming themselves and others, putting greater strain on social services, hospitals, etc., then perhaps fake drugs should be illegal too.

Lastly, I understand the personal liberties debate and it has been well represented. However, legalities aside, is anyone actually in favor of what Mr. Carlson is doing? Can anyone make an argument for fake drugs being a good thing? If so, I'd love to hear that argument.

Patty

about 10 years ago

I can't agree... getting social service handouts is not a choice for people in dire circumstances.  The truth is; we pay for people's bad choices one way or the other all the time. Punishing people for being poor is not the same as a business, like insurance having standards for rates.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

If for no other reason than that it includes the phrase "synthetic cannabinoids," which I mentioned a long time ago is going to be a great band name some day, here is the latest statement from the Duluth Police Dept.:

On Sept. 21, members of the Duluth Police Department and the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task force executed a search warrant at "The Last Place on Earth" located at 120 East Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota. The search was conducted as part of an ongoing investigation into the illegal sales of synthetic cannabinoids (commonly known as synthetic or fake marijuana) at that location. The Minnesota Legislature banned the sale of synthetic cannabinoids during the last legislative session and that law became effective on July 1, 2011. Chemicals used in the production of synthetic cannabinoids are also banned by federal law. One male employee was arrested and detained based on his involvement in the sale of products that are the target of the investigation. The employee was later released pending further investigation. The search of the business was conducted pursuant a search warrant that was authorized by the court and based on facts established during the investigation. The investigative procedures, application for search warrant, execution of the search warrant and forfeiture recommendations were reviewed and approved by Police Department partners in the City of Duluth Attorney's Office and the Saint Louis County Attorney's Office. Evidence and assets seized at the business were taken pursuant to Minnesota law and are pertinent evidence in the ongoing criminal investigation and subject to forfeiture. The investigation is ongoing and no further details will be released at this time.

B-man

about 10 years ago

@Patty-  I have been working in Social Services for 15 years, and 95% of the people that are using public assistance can point to a few bad choices that led them to that place where they were asking for help.  Choices have consequences.  

The system would not be punishing poor people with this screening, it would be motivating people to make choices that get them closer to getting off the assistance.

I am not in favor of eliminating the assistance that many families depend on.  I am totally in favor of eliminating the dependance and replacing it with self reliance.

People paying for drugs with my tax money is something I will never condone.

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

The FAA has estimated that random drug screenings cost them $44,000 to find one positive drug test.

The state of Florida, which recently implemented the same plan that b-man advocates is spending more on drug testing than they are saving on denied benefits claims.

Stupid ideas are stupid.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

I don't think there is an argument for that. Even Jim Carlson isn't arguing that. You might disagree with his morality standard, but he's trying to force a point while making money at it. In fact I think you're straw manning without meaning to.

The fact is, these chemical-drugs would not exist if marijuana was legal. And I do think you need to recognize that there is a distinction between the fake pot/incense and the bath salts/fake meth or whatever. If they found out that Draino was like meth if you snorted it, do you think they should make Draino illegal? Where does that stop? The whole reason this thing is even happening is because chemists have found out how to make just about anything by moving a molecule here or there. The only way you can prevent "fake" drugs' existence is if you make "It Makes You High" the standard for illegality, and that standard would include a lot of people's favorite and long-standing legal drugs of choice. 

So, as far as I'm concerned, if you have a problem with people buying these substances, make plant-based natural drugs legal and regulate them FDA style. If you can grow it in your back yard or garage, the government has no business regulating it unless you're putting it up for sale for ingestion. 

And just like pot pipes or these substances, it is the distinction about its use that makes them legal. It is legal to buy incense made of just about anything that doesn't make the air in your house a toxic danger zone. Just as it is legal to put stuff in your bath as long as it doesn't make you break out in death-hives or something. Just because people decide to put bath salts up their nose, doesn't mean you get to make it illegal. 

When you sell something that is made to be ingested, you're entering the realm of FDA regulation. And obviously, if legitimate studies say a drug kills people or makes large numbers of people lose their minds, it shouldn't be approved for sale. Notice, I don't think that anecdotal tales from police or doctors or mommies worried about their sons should be the standard for illegality. 

Tansy (that tall flower/weed with the little yellow buttons) is toxic and can cause abortions if ingested in just the right way. I don't see the government going around putting pesticide on it. In fact, I'd say it's the dominant flower in Duluth. But if I went around measuring it out in plastic bottles and tried to sell it as an unregulated abortifacent, and girls were showing up dead or sick in hospitals, then the FDA should tell me to cease and desist. No, I don't think I should go to jail for years as a drug dealer. Charged with reckless disregard, perhaps. 

However, if I sell those flowers in little packets as um... let's say pot-pourri, and word got out that you could swallow it and have yourself a free abortion, should I then be held responsible for what people do? Is it about my intent as a seller? Or just the substance itself?

hbh1

about 10 years ago

My post is in response to @ndy's.

Michele

about 10 years ago

How about we tax Mr Carlson the amount of money it's costing Duluth taxpayers, ( or all MN taxpayers) to care for these idiots? I do not want to see random drug tests, or drug tests based on whether you are on some Fed Assistance program or not. I believe in the necessity of our social safety net. 

 However, we cannot continue to have tremendous unreimbursed medical costs, I'm talking WEEKS of medical care for recreational use of substances because people want to be "free" of any regulations.

 I would love to present Mr Carlson with the bill for every patient we've had because he sold them his unregulated product. His 6 million in profits would start to disappear and perhaps he or any other purveyor would reconsider whether they want to provide these products. Maybe this is the answer, not regulation, but a tax that represents the true "cost" of using the product? Isn't that the idea of the greenhouse gas tax? We could just apply it to everything that has an unfunded consequence. Cause you know, nothings really free...

dm08

about 10 years ago

Shut that place down.

Sinatra

about 10 years ago

Wait ... lemme stock up on dildo numchucks first ... yep I said dildo numchucks.

@ndy

about 10 years ago

@ hbh1 It would be a straw-man argument if I presented an argument stating Mr. Carlson's actions are moral, then shot it down. I didn't do that. I asked if the argument can be made because few people commented on the moral aspects, as opposed to the legal aspects.

I agree marijuana should be legalized. I agree there is a distinct difference between pseudo-pot and 'bath salts.' I understand the slippery-slope argument. And, the new state law, kinda does ban 'what makes you high' - in a sense. The standard is: "a
substance, the chemical structure of which is substantially similar to the chemical structure
of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II:
(1) that has a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II; or
(2) with respect to a particular person, if the person represents or intends that the substance have a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II.
(b) "Analog" does not include:
(1) a controlled substance;
(2) any substance for which there is an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;" - http://tinyurl.com/syntheticdrugs

You stated "When you sell something that is made to be ingested, you're entering the realm of FDA regulation." Synthetic marijuana and 'bath salts' are made to be ingested. The manufacturers and the sellers obviously know that. There is no other common use for those products. No, we shouldn't ban bath salts. But should ban products labeled as 'bath salts,' which are not bath salts, are not intended to be used as bath salts, and are clearly not used for any significant use other than ingestion. The Federal Government already bans the importation of chemicals used in both 'bath salts' and synthetic marijuana. So, all these products are imported illegally. Is it really that much of a stretch to say that we should ban the sale of products whose chemical components are already illegal?

zra

about 10 years ago

I still wanna know why grass isn't good enough. From what I've seen, pot's easier to get and cheaper to boot ... unless the chemicals in the crap Carlson's selling doesn't show up in UA tests.

B-man

about 10 years ago

@ Lojasmo  The cost of the tests is due to the high price of business in a unionized system. Google the product and it costs between 6 and 50 dollars for the test.

A single person with one child on welfare gets $417/ month ... seems like if you take away the labor costs of using state employees the benefits are regained.

I myself would be willing to create a company that could assist St. Louis County with this service for much less than $44,000 per positive result.  
The other confounding factor in this statement is that you (the study) are calculating the cost of the program by only the positive test results.  I say re-count with consideration for the many, many people who did not apply for assistance because they did not want to get tested.  The "real" numbers will never be known, but anecdotal evidence suggests they would be better than your findings.  

Ask Home Depot how many positive test results they get while screening employees?  Since they advertise the fact that you will be tested, many users simply do not apply there.

adam

about 10 years ago

...unless the chemicals in the crap Carlson's selling doesn't show up in UA tests.

That's the theory.

bluenewt

about 10 years ago

I made a ton of bad choices as a young person. Didn't you? But I had a middle class family. So I wound up in grad school, with the family paying for it, rather than on the dole, with taxpayers paying for it. Poverty seems to me to be much more a question of bad luck than of bad choices. 

Who would choose to be a drunk or drug addict? "When I grow up, I want to lie in an alley with gravel in my cuffs and pee in my pants."

Blaming poor people for their poverty is a way of feeling safe: It can't happen to you because you're morally superior. 

I probably shouldn't post this. I'm not going to convince anyone. But I think we'd be better off with more compassion and less judgment.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

@bluenewt:  It's not simply a question of compassion vs. judgment.  It's not that easy. I also made a ton of bad choices as a kid, but also had a middle class family and its values (e.g., go to school and go to work) to fall back on, and so ended up in law school instead of falling through the cracks.  

So we can, and absolutely should, be grateful for how lucky we are to have had a chance to get our shit together by ultimate reliance on our socioeconomic status.

But that doesn't mean that you are also somehow morally required to give poor people a pass when they abuse substances and ask for your tax dollars to assist them.  Help them, certainly, but also expect/demand that they start taking steps to make a life that is not entirely and completely contingent upon your tax dollar support for their substance abuse.

I used to feel that was an awfully judgmental stance to take.  Now I have worked with/for these indigent substance abusers for the last 20 years.  I am tired of seeing people without hope, but I am also tired of seeing people up all night using whatever, waking up at 2 p.m., not getting their kids to school, calling their gov't handout their "paycheck," and generally not having the will and the ability and the help to cut this out.

We're not helping by saying "oh, we can't demand more of you, we can only give you pity."

hbh1

about 10 years ago

Thank you, bluenewt. My thoughts exactly.

bluenewt

about 10 years ago

I'm okay with demanding more, emmadogs. I'm not okay with denying medical care to people who are sick.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

I'm not okay with denying medical care to anyone, blewnewt.  I ardently support national health care, but also don't want to turn my tax dollars over without expecting people to take better care of themselves.

Mark

about 10 years ago

I'm a substance abuse therapist right now and can tell you that there are screens for most of this stuff, but they cost a lot of money. Also, with synthetic marijuana, you need to specify that that is what you would like to test, or else most companies will not do it.

On people who abuse substances: one of the previous commenters mentions will (as in, those who abuse substances do not have enough will to stop using) and I can say from experience that a person's "will" has little to nothing to do with the cessation of using substances. Sure, you get a person or two over the course of your time working that, based on their will alone can stop, but they are the exception to the rule. For most substance abusers, it seems that one of the keys to getting them to stop using is exactly the opposite: letting go of their willfulness (a basic tenet of the 12-step movement).

For the most part, the vast majority of the chronic users that I have encountered in my work have experienced some deep trauma (acute, chronic, societal, whatever) in their lives that propels them to use in order to be anywhere other than where they currently are. Unfortunately, working with the underlying issues of an addict is time consuming and costs a lot of money. So what you get is a system where the people with money go to Hazelden and the people who don't go to community or county health care centers (if they're lucky) with scant resources or, a lot of the time, jail. This an oversimplification, to be sure, and kind of ignores all the people in the middle, but... 

Compassion works, it just costs a lot more money and takes a lot more time than demanding that a person change now or else.

That's a shame.

Rougement

about 10 years ago

Yep, a lot of people seem to go for the synthetic stuff in order to get around a drug screen.

The problem isn't with the synthetic stuff, it's with the existence of drug screens and, to a point, the illegality of recreational drugs, specifically cannabis.

The issue is that the THC in cannabis metabolizes into fat soluble compounds which are stored in the body for a long time and gradually washed out through urine.

A person can take other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth, PCP, MDMA, mushrooms, LSD and pass a drug screen in a few days as many of these are water soluble compounds. I'd say all of the above have greater potential for addiction and harm than cannabis.

Depending on metabolism, body fat, frequency and amount of use, a cannabis user can pass a urine screen anywhere from 7-60 days after quitting.

Even so, tests can be passed easily by diluting urine by drinking huge amounts of water and taking supplements to fool the test's dilution component or by simply substituting clean urine.

Hopefully I've shed a little light on why these tests are a bad idea - it's better to avoid cannabis and take more dangerous drug if you want to get high and have a chance of being tested. It's also better to head to TLPOE and fool around with untested synthetic stuff to increase your chances. These are both bad ideas. Also, the tests are far from accurate and can be gamed.

Of course, not doing any drugs is also an option but many people seem to want to relax and get high through legal or illegal means. Always have, always will. 


Even so, the most pervasive argument for me is that testing is a massive invasion of privacy. What a person chooses to do outside of a work environment is nobodies business. Hire and fire based upon on-the-job performance. I know plenty of recreational drug users who hold down good jobs. I know plenty of teetotal people who really ought to be fired. And vice versa.

As for people who receive benefits. I note that this idea of drug testing welfare recipients has come to the fore during a massive economic downturn. It's simple scapegoating by the political far right. When times are tough and money is scarce let's find a way to screw the poorest out of what little they have. Some of these people even have the temerity to own refrigerators and TVs. At all costs, we must direct attention away from the people who actually caused this mess.

Right?

DaVe

about 10 years ago

Re: drug testing: doesn't it still constitute a warrantless  search without probable cause?  

Also: The Center for Disease Control estimates diseases related to cigarette smoking result in $96 billion in health-care costs, much of which is paid for  with taxpayer money through publicly funded health programs.

zra

about 10 years ago

It's poison, plain and simple. Carlson knows it. He knows it and sells it anyway. From what I've read, he tries really hard to come off as a man who's just looking out for the poor dupes who pony over their cash to buy the shit he sells, but when you take a look at the financial aspect of the situation (how many million is he putting away from selling this shit again?) ... it's easy to see where his "compassion" lies ... and it's not in the drugged masses he sells his wares to. His compassion is for his bank account.

I wish someone would prove me wrong on this, but it's gonna take an awful lot of convincing. The way I see it, Carlson's no better than a tobacco company or a dealer pushing junk.

adam

about 10 years ago

Or a bartender.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

Or McDonald's.

thedoog

about 10 years ago

Or your doctor.

Ramos

about 10 years ago

If Carlson's making $6 million a year selling incense, you could probably set up a little stand on the corner of Lake and Superior and take in at least a few hundred grand.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

You'll note he's stopped selling bath salts at the demands of his girlfriend.

super matilda

about 10 years ago

So, when's Medical coming here?

LamuzNick

about 10 years ago

The same, infinitely.

Jeffrey Heckman

about 10 years ago

It comes down to where this is a result of preventing people from using plants that naturally grow.  A Strong argument is that synthetics are much more dangerous to people and this is true.   To me this is an indication of excessive enforcement of Cannabis which is benign to more than 99% of the people.  Seems like government money ought to be spent helping people in the first place instead of ENFORCING.

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