City votes for moratorium on synthetic drugsCloquet City Councilors and Mayor Bruce Ahlgren voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an interim ordinance authorizing a study and imposing a moratorium on businesses dealing in synthetic drugs in the city of Cloquet. Officials from the city if Carlton and Thomson Township (Esko) did the same.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The Last Place on Earth — a Duluth head shop that’s been in the news repeatedly for issues related to the sale of synthetic marijuana — better not be planning to open up a branch in Cloquet or Carlton.
Cloquet City Councilors and Mayor Bruce Ahlgren voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an interim ordinance authorizing a study and imposing a moratorium on businesses dealing in synthetic drugs in the city of Cloquet. Carlton City Councilors and Mayor Kitty Bureau passed a similar moratorium in Carlton on Monday, and the Town of Thomson Board and Board Chair Terry Hill passed the same last Thursday, Aug. 15.
Synthetic drugs include any non-FDA approved chemical compound that mimics the effect of marijuana or the effects of psychoactive drugs with stimulant properties, regardless of whether it’s advertised as bath salts, incense or other products labeled “not for human consumption.”
Cloquet City Administrator Brian Fritsinger said legal action had been discussed in the past, but officials didn’t take action at the time because the topic was being discussed by the State Legislature.
Fritsinger said the City Attorney’s office recommended city officials be proactive at this time “in light of current activity related to this issue.” The adoption of the ordinance will provide sufficient time to conduct an appropriate study without the risk of a business opening or making an application to sell such substances within the community. The proposed moratorium is effective for one year, ending Aug. 22, 2014.
Councilor Lara Wilkinson questioned whether the moratorium would also apply to existing businesses in Cloquet. Fritsinger said it would.
The purpose of the study is to consider the adoption or amendment of official controls relating to the need for additional regulations addressing the development and/or operation of a business dealing in synthetic drugs.
In July, the Duluth City Council passed an ordinance requiring any Duluth business to obtain a license to sell products related to synthetic drugs. The Duluth council also made it illegal for anyone to smoke, ingest, inject or snort any product labeled “not for human consumption,” which is how the incense and bath salts are marked.
In other matters Tuesday, Cloquet City Councilors and Mayor Ahlgren approved a proposed site plan for a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store to be located on the vacant lot north of Applebee’s restaurant. The council also approved a 225-foot front yard setback versus the ordinance maximum of 100 feet.
The Cloquet Planning Commission had reviewed the site plan at its Aug. 13 meeting and recommended approval of the variance with the following conditions:
The final landscape plan shall be submitted and approved by staff prior to the building permit being issued;
The two landscape islands in the parking lot shall be irrigated;
The entrance off Gillette Road shall not be widened unless the applicant agrees to stripe the exit with through and turn lanes to assist with travel through the intersection per engineering standards.
Councilors and Mayor Ahlgren also approved the probationary appointment of Charles Martin to the position of police officer effective Sept. 3, contingent on the successful completion of his assessments. The city received 60 applications for the opening, which was created when Officer Tory Cawcutt accepted a job with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office. Cloquet has a total of 19 sworn police officers to patrol the cities of Cloquet and Scanlon.