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Duluth to regulate shops that sell synthetic drugs

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The Duluth City Council approved a new ordinance Monday night that will require businesses selling synthetic drugs to be licensed by the city, the News Tribune reports.

Members also passed a measure that makes it illegal for anyone to consume products that are labeled "not for human consumption."

“We are not condoning the use of synthetic drugs. We are not legalizing synthetic drugs. We are merely regulating synthetic drugs,” City Councilor Linda Krug, who co-sponsored the ordinances, told the newspaper.

“I feel that by licensing this product, you are admitting the legality that I’ve always stated,” Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson said at the meeting.

Carlson claims the products he sells are legal, but officers have raided his embattled head shop in downtown Duluth three times in the past two years, according to WDIO.

In April, authorities arrested Carlson and his son, Joseph Gellerman, as part of a long-running investigation into synthetic drugs. They're both charged with four counts of fourth-degree sale of controlled substances.

Carlson, Gellerman and two others also face 54 federal counts for violating drug and product-labeling laws, and are scheduled to go on trial in September.

Lawmakers at the state and federal levels have tried banning some synthetic drugs. But drug makers have been able to skirt the laws by changing the formulas used to make the drugs.

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