Minnesota-Specific Issue Profile

MN Legislative Timeline on Synthetic Drugs

In recent years, the city of Duluth was regarded as the epicenter of Minnesota’s synthetic drug problem, due in part to a retail outlet known as “Last Place on Earth”. The store was reported as a multi-million dollar operation selling large amounts of illegal substances. When the Minnesota Legislature moved to enact laws specifically blocking the sale and possession of synthetic drugs, this high-profile operation was closed down and its owner successfully prosecuted. Since synthetic drugs are still easily available online, however, they represent a continued health threat to communities across Minnesota.

Legislative timeline:

2014: The 2013-2014 Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs recommended that the State of Minnesota take a comprehensive approach to further combat synthetic drugs. These recommendations were approved by the legislature and put into law on August 1, 2014. The new law includes an expansion of the definition of “synthetics,” prosecutor training in synthetic drug cases, and providing the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy the ability to issue cease and desist orders to establishments suspected of trafficking a banned substance. Download the Full Report.

2012: The Minnesota Legislature passed additional legislation targeting synthetic drugs including an increased penalty for the sale of synthetic cannabinoids and expedited rule-making authority to allow additions of newly identified substances with subsequent approval by the Legislature.

2011: The Minnesota Legislature added synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones to Schedule I drugs.

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