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Head shop owner refuses to stop selling designer drugs

A show-down between the owner of a head shop and local law enforcement has been a test case for laws banning designer drugs. The head shop owner has openly defied a state and federal ban on synthetic marijuana and continued to sell it in his shop. He says that the products do not contain any of the chemicals banned by either his state or the Drug Enforcement Administration. He stopped selling the designer drug bath salts, but is considering selling it again in his store.

The man's store is in Minnesota, which, like New Jersey, has banned chemicals commonly found in bath salts. Three chemicals commonly found in bath salts are set to be banned by the DEA as early as next month. Five chemicals commonly found in synthetic marijuana are currently banned by the DEA. Retailers have managed to get around the bans by selling designer drugs with slight alterations to chemical compounds that make up the products and keep them technically illegal.

According to a recent article in the Star Tribune, the Minnesota retailer who refuses to stop selling the synthetic drugs says he is the victim of a harassment campaign on the part of law enforcement. He says that he has experienced substance abuse firsthand in his family and own life and knows that it can be devastating, but does not believe that more laws banning drugs and more punishment of people for using them will do anything to help people with a problem.

Source: Star Tribune, "He dares Duluth to shut his head shop,' Larry Oakes, Sept. 17, 2011

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