Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson indicted by feds, facing 20 years in prison

Carlson with a huge bag of "incense," or, as it's known to the feds, "illegal synthetic marijuana."
Carlson with a huge bag of "incense," or, as it's known to the feds, "illegal synthetic marijuana."

For Jim Carlson, owner of Duluth's Last Place on Earth head shop, the high times might be coming to an end.

SEE ALSO: Adam Budge, 18, charged with murder following friend's synthetic drug overdose

In a federal indictment unsealed today, Carlson and three colleagues are charged with 54 violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Controlled Substances Act, and the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act. Carlson could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Carlson, 55, estimated this summer that his store made $6 million selling synthetic marijuana and stimulants last year alone. But his shop was raided by federal agents in July, and in August the city of Duluth served a "Notice of Public Nuisance" on Last Place, citing the store's alleged ongoing sales of synthetic drugs, along with numerous police calls reporting that patrons were blocking sidewalks and roads nearby the store.

Despite the raid and pressure from the city, Carlson reportedly continued to brazenly sell substances labeled as "No Name" or "Smoking Dragon." Carlson describes the products as incense or potpourri, but the federal indictment says they're illegal synthetic drugs and charges Carlson and his colleagues with conspiring to obtain and sell them.

"I am confident this indictment is a major step in reducing the supply of dangerous, designer drugs to the region," Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said in a statement shared by the Duluth News Tribune. "Our community, including families of those impacted by these drugs, as well as businesses in the eastern downtown area, can breathe a little easier today."

But Carlson won't go down easily. His attorney, Randy Tigue, said they'll "fight this thing tooth and nail," according to an AP report.

"He's being persecuted by a bunch of busybodies," Tigue told the AP. "All the product that he sold was legal at the time he sold it."

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