Duluth won't enforce its synthetic marijuana ban

The prohibitions blinked first.
The prohibitions blinked first.

The city that seemed so eager to criminalize synthetic marijuana isn't so sure anymore.

In August, Duluth became the first city in Minnesota to enact a ban on the legal smoke products. But after getting slammed with a lawsuit by the local head-shop, they're suspending enforcement of the ban.

"We just got a message that the city won't be enforcing the ban on these products until the lawsuit is settled," said Jim Carlson, owner of The Last Place on Earth, who says the legal intoxicant -- sold as incense -- makes up half of his business.

Carlson's lawyer, Randall Tigue, wouldn't speculate on why the city might be walking back from its strong stance, but noted that letting his client continue selling his product will significantly lessen the damages if the city loses the suit.

"Our complaint included an affidavit from Carlson's wholesaler, saying that he'd bought $173,000 of these goods in the last six months. He's selling them at a significant profit, so the city could have been looking at damages well into the six figures," Tigue said.

If the suit goes all the way to trial, Tigue estimated it could take as much as six months or a year to reach resolution.

Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson declined to comment.

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