A federal magistrate judge in Duluth, Minnesota upheld a local ordinance requiring Jim Carlson, owner of Last Place on Earth, and other retailers to carry a city license for selling synthetic drugs, which includes many rigorous regulations. The ordinance went into effect on Thursday, July 11.
Carlson filed suit on Friday, arguing the law is unconstitutional because it would force him to incriminate himself, arguing that the city license will violate his fifth amendment rights.
It seems that Carlson has flipped his self-serving position on this issue. In the video below, he says that “this product should be regulated” and labeled with “what chemicals they are using and what is the strength.”
City attorneys argued that the license doesn’t require them to incriminate themselves, but merely apply for a license and the ordinance only regulates legal synthetic drugs.
“There’s no constitutional right to continue to do illegal activity,” said City Attorney Gunnar Johnson. “And if that is what’s going on here, there’s no constitutional right to that.”
Carlson has been one of the biggest offenders of retail synthetic drug sales and kept himself out of jail for years.
However, it looks like the law has caught up with the endlessly cocky Carlson. In June, he was even so kind as to offer to stop selling drugs if the charges were dropped. Of course, he wants his money back. The feds have seized millions of Carlson’s hard earned money.
“Besides not selling the product we’ve agreed to quit fighting it,” Carlson said. “I’m the one that’s allowed people to keep selling it because of fighting all these different ordinances and laws and a lot of people go by what I’m doing. If I’m selling, they’re selling. If I’m not, they probably wouldn’t.”
In December of 2012, Carlson, his girlfriend Lava Marie Haugen, 32, both
of Superior, his son, Joseph James Gellerman, 34, and former store employee, Jamie Paul Anderson, 24, have pleaded not guilty in response to an indictment on 54 counts of violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act.The indictment states that between March 2011 and September 2012, Carlson, Haugen, Gellerman and Anderson conspired to obtain and sell through the Last Place on Earth items misbranded as incense, potpourri, bath salts, exotic skin treatments, glass cleaner and watch cleaner. The products were not identified as drugs, though they were intended to be consumed by humans to affect the functioning of the body, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.
The indictment states that between March 2011 and September 2012, Carlson, Haugen, Gellerman and Anderson conspired to obtain and sell through the Last Place on Earth items misbranded as incense, potpourri, bath salts, exotic skin treatments, glass cleaner and watch cleaner. The products were not identified as drugs, though they were intended to be consumed by humans to affect the functioning of the body, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.
The government said in the indictment that if it gains convictions, it will attempt to seize $1,343,352, $1,201,522, $387,488 and $64,950 — almost $3 million in total — from four bank accounts.
After The Last Place on Earth was raided on July 25, 2012, The Food and Drug Administration along with the United States Attorney’s Office asked the public to come forward to explain negative reactions caused by synthetic drugs sold at the store.
Click here to report negative side effects to the FDA if you’re experiencing these effects as a result of drug purchased from Last Place on Earth.
Earlier this year, Carlson offered free “Last Place on Earth” tattoos to willing participants as a promotional gimmick.
Also in the news, a Duluth woman was recently cited for 5th Degree Assault in an incident that left the owner of the Last Place on Earth head shop injured.
34-year-old Candice Drift was cited shortly after the incident on Wednesday night.
Owner Jim Carlson now has stitches in his chin and says he has a broken shoulder bone.
The incident was caught on Carlson’s surveillance video. Carlson says Drift is one of the 10-20 people that he doesn’t allow in Last Place on Earth because of past behavior problems.
“To be honest with you, with his clientele, the people that go in and out of there and the erratic behavior that we’ve seen. I’m surprised that things like that don’t happen more often to him,” Ramsay said. “It sure happens to enough other innocent people, victims of synthetic users.”
The woman accused of assaulting him wrote a letter to the editor published in the News Tribune in April commending him. In that letter, the woman wrote: “Much love and respect to Carlson. Stand proud, and stay strong, my friend. Your heart is filled with gold.”
“She’s a wonderful person when she’s not drinking, but you get too much alcohol and some pills and some of these people, they go nuts,” Carlson said.
We wonder how Jim feels to be on the receiving end of “nuts,” for a change. Local families and loved ones have been reporting that their loved ones have become violent and experienced horrible side effects as a result of the drugs that Carlson has been selling.
Nearby merchants have complained that Last Place customers who hang out in front of the store interfere with their business and the city says the business is a public nuisance. Reports of “crazy” behavior has plagued downtown Duluth since Last Place on Earth started selling synthetic drugs.
Additionally, the city of Deluth, Minnesota, filed a civil ‘Notice of Nuisance’ injunction in an attempt to thwart Carlson’s ability to sell synthetic drugs. City Attorneys argued the court should take action, citing 2,000 police calls to Last Place in 2012, a cost of 100,000 dollars to the taxpayer. This doesn’t include the medical and mental health costs associated with synthetic drug use, which are usually absorbed by the public.
The city will be using an Aug. 28 surveillance tape outside the store as a piece of evidence in the case.
The tape shows customers heading out and pushing a man into the road. They then head back and pull him toward the curb before leaving the scene. The city said the video shows exactly what happens near the business and the city resources that have to respond.
But, Carlson isn’t just responding to legal motions.
Carlson filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Duluth in response for what he called an unlawful raid.
On December 12, Judge Floerke dismissed the lawsuit.
The judge ruled the city did not violate Carlson’s civil rights when it raided his downtown head shop and seized $83,510 in cash, about $250,000 worth of products, largely synthetic marijuana, and 28 guns.
The judge also denied Carlson’s request to force the return of his cash, retail products and guns.
We couldn’t be happier.
Carlson filed a similar suit against the federal government for their July 2012 raid.
Meanwhile, a newly formed MN House of Representatives select committee held its first hearing in St. Paul on Tuesday. The committee will study the synthetic drug problem and present possible solutions during the 2014 legislative session.
To the Maximus Foundation has made legislative recommendations to state legislators.