Tag Archives: honey oil

Butane Hash Oil Fires Don’t End with Legalized Marijuana

Butane Hash Oil  Labs are a Byproduct of Marijuana Commercialization

On the first day pot was 100% legal in California, three men in Humboldt County celebrated their marijuana freedom by extracting butane hash oil (BHO) from marijuana.  Their actions sparked a fire.  Helicopters airlifted the injured men to UC Davis Hospital because their burns were so extensive.   It is rumored that two of the men died.

Car fire in Arcata, on November 2, 2016. There have been 5 BHO fires in the same county, Humboldt, since the vote to legalize on November 8

Wasn’t legalization going to solve these problems?  No, because “wax,” “shatter,” “budder” — the products made from BHO and sold in dispensaries — are more expensive than homemade stuff.

On November 2, seven days before pot became legal, a BHO fire exploded a car in Arcata, CA.  A similar fire on January 14, 2017, totaled a home near Arcata in Humboldt County, injuring two people. It was the fourth BHO lab discovered in Humboldt County  since legalization.   (The photo above is from a car fire in Arcata on November 2, 2016.)   

Overhead Video of Last Night’s Fire Before Fire Crews Arrive on Scene

BHO or butane hash oil, which Californians call “honey oil” is a highly potent extract of the marijuana plant. Continue reading

Hash Oil Explosions Continue in California

At least five hash oil explosions have erupted in California over the past month while residents were using butane to extract “honey” oil from marijuana.  The worst fire occurred in Walnut Creek on Halloween, when a 4-unit apartment building went up in flames.  The entire street was affected, and a total of 12 apartment units were uninhabitable after the fire was put out.

On Tuesday, two men and one woman were arrested in Arroyo Grande, after detectives served a search warrant for a home with a butane honey oil conversion lab.  A 10-month old baby was found sleeping on a mattress surrounded by marijuana, pipes and broken glass.   There was also a 12-year old and a 15-year old in the home.

The most recent hash oil fire happened Wednesday night in Muscoy, San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles.  One man died and another man and a woman are in critical condition. It was the 6th event involving a marijuana lab in that county this year.   The LA Times reported 20 hash oil explosions happened in San Diego County within one 14-month period of 2013-2014.

In truth, hash oil labs have replaced meth labs as the most dangerous drug manufacturing process in the US during this decade.  The worst hash oil explosion occurred a year ago in Bellevue, WA.

Making BHO is becoming increasingly popular because VAPE PENs are now available.  Tiny, potent “dabs” are put in the vape pens and go undetected because they don’t leave a smell or emit smoke.   While marijuana today typical has 10-18% THC, the psychoactive element to bring the high, hash oil has up to 50-80% potency for a quicker, more lasting high.

“Honey,” “wax”, “dabs,” “budder,” “BHO,” “710,” “earwax,” and “shatter” are common terms for this trendy way to use marijuana.   Makers follow online instructions, some shown on videos.   Butane is the most popular way to make it, but not the only flammable product used.

nbcbayareaimage
Firefighters attempt to put out an fire caused by butane hash oil at a Walnut Creek, CA, home on October 31, 2014. Photo by Jodi Hernandez, from NBC Bay area News. Photo above, an NBC image also is by James Bogulawski.

Two men burned in Ukiah from a hash oil explosion on November 4. They had to be flown by helicopter to the hospital.  The butane ignited when one of the men lit a cigarette, in the shed behind the house. Another hash oil explosion caused an estimated $100,000 to a home in Visalia, near Fresno, a week earlier.

Those who keep advocating for marijuana legalization need to consider the cost of public services for the explosions which mainly occur in California,  Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

If we have legalization, we need to think about protecting the children, and if parents who endanger their children with drug usage should lose custody and visitation rights in divorce proceedings.  If marijuana is legalized, explosions wouldn’t stop, as the pot promoters like to tell us.

Hash oil explosions happen less frequently on the east coast, and in other parts of the country.  However, a hash oil blast in Missoula, Montana, happened in a university housing complex, where a student’s boyfriend was making BHO and endangering her toddler.  The man, woman and child had to be treated for injuries. Also in October, a 20-year old boy started a fire in his parents’ house in Jackson, Michigan.  He was a medical marijuana cardholder.

We need to ask why many “medical marijuana patients” are so addicted that they ask for these quick highs.  Could it be that medical marijuana providers are encouraging addiction to keep them permanently incapacitated?  The man in Missoula had been burned previously, yet he continued to make hash oil, illegally.  We need to recognize how addictive this marijuana extract is!

Get the Parents Opposed to Pot Hash Oil Facts! Download our new flyer, which describes the hash oil explosions in states which have permissive marijuana laws: POPPOT-Hash Oil Statistics.

Hash Oil Explosions Rise with Legal Pot

Another consequence of changing a public policy to benefit the 6- 7% of adults who use marijuana is the slew of hash oil explosions which have occurred this year.  Making BHO, butane hash oil is a relatively easy, but dangerous, process.

Did anyone figure ambulances, fire fighters and emergency medical care into the cost of legalizing marijuana?  Voters in Oregon, Alaska, Washington, DC, and two cities, Lewiston and South Portland, Maine, need to think of possible consequences before legalizing another dangerous drug.  States considering medical marijuana also need to factor in the legality of making BHO, and the cost for public services when the fires occur.

Downloadable Fact Sheet

Get the Parents Opposed to Pot Hash Oil Facts! Download our new flyer, which describes the hash oil explosions in states which have permissive marijuana laws: POPPOT-Hash Oil Statistics.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called a meeting last week to pass an ordinance that would restrict unlicensed  amateurs using flammables to process marijuana.  There have been 8 blasts in the   city of Denver this year, and 31 in the state.  After an objection was voiced at the meeting on September 15, the discussion was tabled.

Congress made a huge mistake, when on May 30, the House of Representatives voted not to allow Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) funds to be used to investigate federal violations in states with medical marijuana.

Like passing child protection laws, or keeping the marijuana businesses out of communities, it seems impossible to pass any restrictions which might stop marijuana consumption, commerce or expansion in Colorado.  (Marijuana has caused three non-traffic deaths in Colorado this year: one incidence of child neglect in January and two deaths from potent edibles, in March and April.)

Firefighters putting out a hash oil explosion in Jefferson County, Colorado
Firefighters putting out a hash oil explosion in Jefferson County, Colorado.  Photo: CBS Denver

The marijuana industry told voters marijuana is “safer than alcohol,” but the social and public service costs must be staggering by now.  The fires and explosions are increasing, because extracting hash oil from marijuana has become more popular.  The promised tax revenues from marijuana are much lower than was projected, and black markets still thrive.

Seared Skin and Burn Centers

“Hash Oil’s Trail of Seared Skin and Annihilated Homes”  reports of one death in Hawaii early this year and one death in Oregon last year. “March Madness” was a term used to describe the numerous hash oil blasts that took place during one month this year.   Five explosions happened in Colorado during one week in April.

Butane hash oil must be made in an open or well-ventilated area.  If the butane sparks something else, explosions can occur.  What makes it dangerous is that butane is highly flammable, sensitive to heaters, pilot lights, electric cords, a cigarette or the slightest spark of a match.

Of the 31 hash oil explosions that had occurred in Colorado by early May this year,  21 involved injuries and 10 of those suffered from major burns requiring extensive treatment.  In the previous year, there were 11 such explosions in the state, with 11 people treated for burns.  According to an official of the state’s burn center, at University of Colorado’s burn unit, the first explosion occurred in 2012. Most victims are males in their 20s and 30s.

A hash oil explosion.  Photo: ABC7 News Denver
A hash oil explosion. Photo: ABC7 News Denver

A  request to search the records of Oregon’s only burn center over a 16- month period showed that 17 people were treated for butane hash oil burns, including two residents of southwest Washington.  A 12-year old girl sustained broken bones after jumping from the 2nd floor, to escape a Medford, Oregon, hash oil fire last November.

In California, during a 14- month period from 2013 to early 2014, 27 people were treated for hash oil burns in one Northern California burn unit, 17 in southern California centers.  In California, it’s legal for medical marijuana patients to use or buy the hash oil, but illegal for amateurs to make it.  We have written previously of the children endangered by theses blasts. 

Fortunately, no one has died in Colorado from BHO-explosions, though some people have sustained horrible burns.

As far as state law goes, making the hash oil in a home is perfectly legal in Colorado, as reported on ABC7 News.  Charges of arson or child endangerment can be filed, however, when there is property damage, others are put in danger, or children are nearby.

Homes, Apartments and Property Damage

hashoilexplosionSeattle
A hash oil explosion at a Bellevue apartment complex fire caused one death to a former mayor and $1.5 million in damages.  Photo above and below: US District Court of Western Washington

Federal District Attorneys in Washington, California and Oregon have been excessively slow in response to the explosions, despite the extensive damage to property, deaths and injuries to others.  The explosions began 2-3 years ago on the West Coast, but it is only in the last few months that the Department of Justice appears to have decided that action is necessary.

Last weekend the Los Angelos Times reported 20 butane hash oil explosions in San Diego County, alone, within the year. There was $1.2 million of damage to an apartment building in San Diego last January.  The explosions have occurred from New England to Florida, and from to British Columbia to Arizona.

In May, the Oregonian ran a series of online articles about BHO (butane hash oil), detailing the hows and whys of making it, and the explosions.  It has only become popular in the last 3 years.

The hash oil explosion in a Bellevue apartment complex resulted in severe injuries to those who had to jump
The fire at Bellevue apartment complex resulted in severe injuries to those who had to jump, and one woman who died. Three men have been charged for the incident of Nov. 5, 2013.

On July 22, 2014, the US attorney in western Washington filed charges against seven people, mainly for “endangering human life while manufacturing controlled substances.”  The individuals caused fires or explosions in Seattle, Puyallup, Kirkland and Bellevue.  The Bellevue fire caused a massive explosion to an apartment complex, $1.5 million in damages, and killed a former mayor of Bellevue.   During this occurrence, two women experienced multiple fractures, having jumped from second- and third-floor windows to escape flames.

One of those facing federal charges in Puyallup, Washington, was making the hash oil for a marijuana edibles. He’s the owner of an edibles’ company, “Capn Cosmics.”  Additionally, he’s  charged with endangering the life of a 14-month old child.

The District Attorney in Washington asserts that the actions are illegal, because they cause harm to others and to property, although in the past officials found issues of legality hazy in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

tigard-car-fire
A California many has been indicted for starting the BHO blast in a Tigard, Oregon, parking lot on July 29. Photo: KoinTV

On July 29 in Tigard, Oregon, a parking lot explosion injured one and destroyed or damaged five motor vehicles.  A grand jury indicted a California man for knowingly and intentionally creating a substantial risk of harm to human life in connection materials exploded, and for manufacturing marijuana.  It’s thought to be the first time the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon has filed charges in connection with a hash oil explosion.

State regulations in California and Colorado haven’t stopped the explosions.  California doesn’t allow medi-pot patients to produce BHO, while Oregon and Washington’s medical pot programs don’t regulate BHO.  Colorado and Washington require BHO to be tested for residual butane before being placed on dispensary shelves.

Why is Hash Oil Popular?

Marijuana users are looking for the quicker, faster high—even though they think marijuana is not addictive.  Yet, there are great psychological risks, too, and some users have had psychotic episodes from using this potent substance.

For sellers, it’s an easy way to make large profits.   However, making it at home is so much cheaper, and it’s gaining popularity.

There are plenty of YouTube videos and other online instructions for amateurs to follow.  Makers begin by putting cannabis leaves and flowers in an extraction tube, like a pipe.  They then put the colorless, odorless butane in that small area to extract the THC quickly, letting it fall through a small filter on bottom.  Spraying with butane is called blasting the marijuana, which pulls the THC right out of it.

Problems are most likely to occur indoors or when there is not good ventilation.

makingbutanehash
A butane hash “chef” packs a pipe with marijuana trimmings that will be used to make butane hash. (Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The solvent or butane must be flushed out.  It can be boiled off in a hot water bath, which is why some home producers use hot baths or double boilers. Many commercial enterprises have the butane pumped out with a vacuum vacuum chamber to lower butane’s boiling point, pulling butane from the oil.

The result is a hash oil which looks like honey.  It’s like the crack cocaine of marijuana.  The THC content can be  70 to 85 percent, while the average joint may be 20 to 25 percent THC.  After cooling, the oil hardens and is broken into bits.  Sometimes the explosions occur in the cooling process, as when the refrigerator door blew off in Manitou Springs.

Butane has oil, a highly potent distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day.  (Photo: ABC News)
Butane has oil, distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day. (Photo: ABC News)

There are many nicknames for butane hash oil: “Wax,” “Honey oil,” “earwax,” “dabs” “shatter” and more.   It could be smoked, vaped or infused into the edibles.   Vaping is a concern, since the vape pens are the e-cigarettes of marijuana.  It is  a way that teens may be using marijuana without detection.

In short, hash oil offers a quick and lasting high for users.   A single hit can last more than a day.   By making it, it costs a user about 50% less than it would by buying it from a licensed dispensary or maker.