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BHOutlaws: Tougher penalties for home production of cannabis concentrates likely

By Oscar Pascual |

Dab culture seems to be rapidly outpacing the rest of cannabis culture, as thousands of new users are picking up vape pens and dab rigs instead of joints and bongs.

And while the market for marijuana extracts such as butane hash oil is blowing up, so too are makeshift hash labs exploding — literally — throughout the country.

While a few responsible cultivators are moving towards non-solvent methods of extracting marijuana concentrates, many hash oil producers prefer a quicker yet more dangerous method using butane, which can and has led to a myriad of lethal accidents that’s perfectly summed up when Googling the words “hash lab explosion.”

The hazards that come along with butane hash oil are the impetus for California Sen. Tony Mendoza’s Senate Bill 212, which was unanimously approved by the state Senate on Wednesday, LA Weekly reports.

Mendoza’s bill states that courts can apply longer sentences for offenders who set up an extraction lab within “300 feet of an occupied residence or any structure where another person was present at the time the offense was committed.”

Current law suggests three to seven years behind bars for creating said extracts, although Mendoza’s bill would push judges to hand out seven-year terms.

“It is imperative that we protect our neighborhoods and schools from those who choose to manufacture illegal drugs,” Mendoza said. “Not only is BHO or methamphetamine manufacturing illegal, but it is an extremely dangerous and highly volatile activity that can result in large explosions, causing extreme bodily injury, death and property damage.”

But many marijuana advocates, such as Debby Goldsberry from Oakland’s Magnolia Wellness dispensary, believe it’s time to regulate extracts rather than demonize them.

“If we fail to regulate, we’ll see an ongoing nightmare of problems,” Goldsberry told Smell the Truth in May. “More explosions and more harms, and less innovation and less access to a safer, better medicine. Regulate it, and the issue can be managed with rules, oversight, and through compliant happy people, making legal extracts safely.”

Sen. Mendoza’s bill may have passed through the Senate, but still needs approval by the full Legislature and the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown to become law.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons