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Duluth Councilors Aim to License Synthetic Drug Sales

Posted at: 05/23/2013 9:40 AM
Updated at: 05/23/2013 11:58 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

Duluth City Councilors Sharla Gardner and Linda Krug are working on two ordinances to regulate the sale of synthetic drugs in the city.

Gardner says the first ordinance would require businesses selling the substances to obtain a license. Under the proposal, the license would cost $140 and need to be renewed annually, like a license to sell cigarettes, she said.

Gardner's proposal would also limit any business from selling the substance within 500 feet of any church, school, city park or day care facility or area zoned as a residential or mixed-use neighborhood.

The businesses would also be barred from operating between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. However, Gardner said the Last Place on Earth, a downtown business selling the substances for about four years, would be grandfathered in.

Gardner's tells Eyewitness News the second ordinance aims to make ingesting any product labeled as "not safe for human consumption" illegal. According to the proposal, eating, drinking, inhaling, smoking or injecting the products would be banned.

Gardner stressed that she does not condone the use of synthetic drugs but says the substances should be regulated because of loopholes in the law allowing them to be sold. She said human cost of synthetic drug use is "tremendous," and said first responders are in terrible positions when dealing with users who have been in states of "psychosis" and acting "bizarre."

Councilors hold their regular meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m.