Superior City Council adopts synthetic drug regulationsAfter losing a 26-year-old son to suicide, Patricia Sundeen woke to devastating news Nov. 30 — two messages left on her cell phone.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
After losing a 26-year-old son to suicide, Patricia Sundeen woke to devastating news Nov. 30 — two messages left on her cell phone.
Another son, Tyler Parks, 26, of Duluth had been taken to the hospital after smoking synthetic marijuana, the message on her phone stated.
A second message revealed her son had slipped into a coma and was placed on a respirator. He was in a coma for three weeks and spent two months in a nursing home recovering, Sundeen said.
“It was devastating,” the Superior woman said after encouraging the Superior City Council to adopt two ordinances to regulate synthetic marijuana in Superior.
Sundeen told councilors her son had suffered a stroke and is still living with the lingering effects of partial paralysis of his left side and struggling with his short-term memory. Parks, who had lived in Duluth before his medical problems developed, now lives in adult foster care in Duluth.
After the meeting, Parks said he never imagined what synthetic marijuana would put him through.
“I wouldn’t want any parent to have to go through what I’ve been through,” Sundeen told the council.
And the Council adopted the new laws with little fanfare.
One ordinance prohibits consuming — eating, drinking, smoking, injecting or inhaling — products labeled “not for human consumption” unless under written direction or supervision of a medical doctor. It also prohibits others from aiding in the use of such products.
The other ordinance regulates the conditions under which synthetic drugs — those commonly marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana or other drugs — can be sold in Superior.
The purpose of the law is not to condone illegal activity or what may become illegal in the future, but it is designed to establish licensing requirements similar to those of other businesses in the city.
Under the new law, businesses proposing to sell synthetic drugs would be required to obtain a license to sell the drugs whether as a stand-alone business, or in conjunction with other business enterprises.
The annual license fee is $600 and the license period runs from Aug. 1 to July 31 each year.
Licenses can only be issued if the council determines it would not constitute violations of other laws.
Hours of operation would be restricted to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and products sold must contain the name, address and phone number of the manufacturer, and all commodities within the package must be identified.
The law further restricts sales to individuals age 21 and older, and cannot be located within 500 feet of any park, school, child care facility or residential or mixed use neighborhoods.
The ordinance is similar to one adopted in Duluth, which has stopped the sale of synthetic drugs at the Last Place on Earth.
Any violation of the requirements in Superior could result in revocation.
Sundeen said she would like to see synthetic drugs made illegal, but she said the ordinances are a step in the right direction.
“I don’t want it in Superior,” she said.