Growing pot at home and in residential areas is posing serious health and property risks in Colorado.
According to lawmakers, firefighters, and industry experts, amateur growing of marijuana in kitchens and basements has resulted in the rise of home explosions. Laboratories use flammable chemicals to extract potent drops of concentrate called “hash oil,” and can result in the accidental explosion of residences. Victims have also been caught in the flames, suffering serious injury. Though there have been no reported fatalities, the explosions have the potential to result in accidental death. This growing trend of home has also posed significant risk in Florida, California, and Illinois, as well as other states where pot is still illegal.
While cities are making efforts to shut down homemade hash oil productions, many state lawmakers are looking to specifically outlaw it. Despite these campaigns, home grown hash oil enthusiasts continue to advocate for their own rights to continue to safely create the product without using butane. Criminal defense lawyers are also arguing that the practice cannot be banned since Colorado voters made marijuana legal to grow, smoke, process and put on the market in 2012.
Over the past year, several home explosions have sent victims to the hospital. Most notably, there was a hash-oil explosion in a motel in Grand Junction, an explosion in an apartment building in Colorado Springs, and another explosion in Denver that left three people hospitalized. The Grand Junction fire department responded to four explosions last year alone. Throughout the state of Colorado there were 32 explosions in 2014. According to the New York Times, the explosions are the result of butane fuel packed with raw marijuana plants to draw out tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to produce a highly potent concentrate also known as “honey oil.” The process is dangerous and can fill a room with vapors that can easily be ignited.
Liability is complicated in these cases and many home owners will blame it on a cooking accident. Law enforcement officials have charged individuals with arson and manufacturing marijuana. In one Denver case, a 24-year-old was charged after explosions blew up a marijuana cooperative. Several people suffered severe burns and police said that victims did not know that the concentrate was being manufactured on the premises. Prosecutors alleged that a crime had taken place, but defense attorneys claim that there is no law prohibiting residential hash oil production. Still, officials say that the operations are dangerous and prosecutors continue to take action.
Colorado legalized marijuana for personal use and the sale of recreational marijuana. For advocates, if the production of hash oil is too dangerous, then it must be regulated by legislators. Courts do not have the right to intervene where the laws have made such production legal. The process has been compared to brewing beer, distilling whiskey or processing olive oil – all potentially dangerous processes, but no longer criminal offenses when conducted according to regulation. Our Orange County marijuana attorneys are experienced in all aspects of marijuana law in California, including growing, cultivation, and sales. We represent individuals and dispensary owners to ensure compliance and in the event of a criminal investigation.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
D.C. Decriminalizes Marijuana, Federal Land Raises Legal Complications, July 16, 2014 Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
United States Marijuana Laws Influencing Other Countries, February 14, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog