United States v. Carlson, No. 14-2986 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendants Carlson, Haugen, and Gellerman were convicted of charges related to their involvement in selling misbranded synthetic drugs at a head shop in Duluth. The court rejected defendants' challenge to the constitutionality of the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (Analogue Act), 21 U.S.C. 813, 841, concluding that the Supreme Court recently determined in McFadden v. United States that the Analogue Act is not unconstitutionally vague because the statute's "knowingly or intentionally" scienter requirement alleviates vagueness concerns; the district court did not err by improperly instructing the jury about the two part test to prove a knowing violation of the Analogue Act; the district court did not abuse its discretion by permitting the jury to find that the analogue was similar in chemical structure to a controlled substance, but similar in pharmacological effects to a different controlled substance; the evidence was sufficient to convict defendants under the Analogue Act; the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting expert testimony regarding the substantial similarity in chemical structure between scheduled controlled substances and the products sold at the head shop; the district court did not err in prohibiting Carlson from presenting an entrapment by estoppel defense; and the court affirmed convictions under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 331(a), and the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). The court rejected defendants' remaining arguments and affirmed the convictions and sentences.