Marijuana Oil Production Concerns Colorado Fire Officials

Fire officials across Colorado say they are concerned the state’s new laws on marijuana will lead to more incidents of explosions from marijuana oil production, reports The Denver Post.

“We don’t encourage such a process,” said Patrick Love, a spokesman for the Poudre Fire Authority, which has handled at least two explosions or fires related to hash oil production. “It not only endangers the person who’s making it, but it could also endanger their neighbors.”

Even marijuana advocates say at-home production of hash oil should be approached cautiously — though they believe authorities’ fears of a house-explosion epidemic are overstated.

“You’re using potentially dangerous chemicals,” said Brian Vicente, one of the authors of Amendment 64, Colorado’s marijuana legalization law.

Hash oil is gloopy, concentrated marijuana — think of it like pot jelly — and its main appeal is its potency. Concoctions can be more than 75 percent THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and users describe single hits of hash oil like smoking an entire joint all at once.

To make it, do-it-yourselfers typically pack marijuana into a slender pipe, then blow compressed butane gas through the pipe. The danger comes from the resulting butane fumes that float around the room. The less ventilated the space, the more dangerous it is.

“If there’s any ignition source anywhere near it, like a pilot light, then you have problems,” said Bill Maron, an investigator with West Metro Fire Rescue.

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