ST. PAUL, MINN. – In order to keep synthetic drugs off the streets and out of the hands of Minnesotans, Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) authored a bill that would grant the Board of Pharmacy cease and desist authority to prevent the sale of synthetic drugs. The bill was heard in the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee on Monday and passed on a voice vote and was sent to the Judiciary Committee.
Senate File 2028 came in response to many cities across the state, but particularly Duluth, not having the authority to stop retail shops from selling synthetic drugs that have the effects of illegal drugs. The well-known Duluth head shop Last Place on Earth became symbolic of the problem. The owner of that shop Jim Carlson is now in jail. Sen. Reinert highlighted how much more activity downtown Duluth has seen once the shop was shuttered.
“Not only is this a problem for cities, the rise in synthetic drug abuse has caused a significant impact on hospitals statewide as the number of overdoses increases. This bill will help stop this game between the legislature banning a specific drug and retail shops changing one ingredient and labeling it as a new product, by granting the Board of Pharmacy cease and desist power,” said Sen. Reinert.
The bill would also include educational programs at middle and high schools across the state. Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth,) who is the chief author of the House file, testified during committee on Monday. He talked about the widespread usage of synthetic drugs particularly among college-aged Minnesotans and young adults. Rep. Simonson chaired a select House subcommittee focused specifically on this problem. The House file passed through two committees and is currently in Judiciary Finance and Policy.