MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — To federal prosecutors and Duluth leaders, Jim Carlson is nothing more than a drug pusher.
There's no dispute that Carlson's head shop, the Last Place on Earth, openly sold a lot of synthetic marijuana before authorities finally shut it down in July. However, Carlson insists he ran a legal business, selling legal products.
Carlson, his girlfriend and his son go on trial Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis. The case is expected to test how effectively authorities can combat synthetic drugs, commonly labeled as "incense" or "bath salts," which occupy a legal gray area that's been difficult to regulate.
Prosecutors expect the case to have a major impact across the country.
Jeanne Cooney, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, says shop owners and prosecutors will be watching closely.