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Published July 09, 2013, 08:40 AM

Minnesota legislative committee holds hearing on synthetic drugs' impact

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A legislative committee formed in response to synthetic drug use in Minnesota is holding its first hearing.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A legislative committee formed in response to synthetic drug use in Minnesota is holding its first hearing.

The Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs is meeting Tuesday morning to talk about the impact of synthetic drugs. The chairman is Rep. Erik Simonson, a Duluth Democrat.

Duluth has been the center of the synthetic drug debate in Minnesota because the owner of a head shop there is selling the products despite complaints from city officials, residents and businesses.

Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson also faces federal criminal charges, but says the products he sells are legal.

Emergency room doctors have said they've seen a rise in patients with side effects from synthetic drugs. In 2011, a 19-year-old died after ingesting a synthetic drug at a Blaine party.

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