Duluth is now famous for drug analogs being sold at the counterculture establishment, Last Place on Earth. The store sells pornography, posters, pipes, papers, and other smoking devices as well as weapons which would lead to immediate arrest if carried on the street. The owner, Jim Carlson, who admits to making "millions" of dollars selling such products, has long been a hero of the subordinate culture. The current city fathers have sworn to purge his business from the state, even though other smoke shops in town carry the same products. It has been a long battle with stinky results on both sides of the street. Here is an example of the issue.
A woman came out of the store after purchasing "bath salts", a small plastic packet of white powder. Whatever it is for, the buyers know it will get you high similar to crack cocaine. The woman rushes to the doorway between the head shop and the printer next door. Taking a small brass tube, known as a pinch hitter, she packs it and puts the flame of her Bic lighter to it for a long inhale. Then "hits" are offered to her friends for five dollars a puff. An older man produced the cash, carefully guided the tube to his mouth, and inhaled deeply while she lit the end. Dozens of people stood in line next to her, actually screening her from the street, waiting for their own chance to buy these products inside. No one stands in line for hours to buy hookahs or cigarettes.
"Good hit!" he announces. His face is cherry red and his hands are shaking. When asked if it really was as good as the street drugs brought into Duluth from ports down the Great Lakes, he replied, "Better than the crap he sells" pointing to a young man wearing his pants well below his hips who is dancing beside the long line, slapping hands with folks tired of waiting. Cash goes one way down the pants, and out comes little cellophane packets. The folks leave the line and hurry away.
This is the heart of what is wrong and why most people do not like it happenning on Superior Street. Be sure to watch for further articles examining this phenomenon and the changes both sides went through in this long tempest in a waterpipe.