Judge Makes Recommendation Against 'Last Place'

Posted at: 07/15/2013 2:57 PM
Updated at: 07/16/2013 11:11 PM
By: Alan Hoglund

A federal judge has made a recommendation against a request by the owner of Duluth's Last Place on Earth to block a new ordinance regulating the sale of synthetic drugs.

Owner Jim Carlson filed a lawsuit last week, alleging that the ordinance is unconstitutional. He also filed a preliminary injunction.

In a hearing Friday, a judge recommended that the injunction be denied. It would have blocked a city ordinance requiring businesses selling synthetic drugs in Duluth get licensed.

Responding to the recommendation, Carlson said the ordinance is "not preventing anyone from getting this stuff. People are ordering it online, going to Virginia, Hibbing, Aurora, Grand Rapids, Bemidji, Ashland."

City Attorney Gunnar Johnson calls the recommendation a win. He said both parties will have time to comment on the recommendation Tuesday and Wednesday.

Daniel Fanning, the community relations officer in the mayor's office, tells Eyewitness News that crime near the Last Place on Earth on Superior Street has dropped "dramatically" since the ordinance went into effect last week. He said police responded to the business five times last weekend, which is down from 17 the weekend prior.

A final ruling is expected later this week or early next week, Johnson said.