The number of residential hash oil explosions has skyrocketed in the 1st state to legalize marijuana.
In a statewide case of not-quitting-while-you're-ahead, ever since January 1, when doors all across Colorado swung open for the first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana industry, the Rocky Mountains have resounded with the booms of exploding households, as the more hardore breed of THC aficionados try to homebrew their own hi-test hash oil in crude home-based laboratories. In the first four months of full-blown legality, the state's only certified adult burn center has treated 10 people for serious injuries they sustained in the pursuit of making their own hash oil, compared with 11 they had to treat for all of 2013.
In 2012, the number of reported hash-oil related burn injuries was one.
In Denver alone, a dozen explosions ripping through the Mile-High City have been linked to homemade hash-oil operations, with the most recent domestic conflagration allegedly occurring just this Monday. There were at least five blasts in one week alone last month. In one case, two children had to be rescued from their blazing suburban Denver townhouse after their father and his girlfriend blew the house to smithereens while attempting to concoct their own hash oil.
For anyone interested in concocting their own hash oil/exploding home, it's usually done by packing castoff leaves and stems (otherwise known as "shake") of the marijuana plant into a pipe and pouring a bunch of butane through the stuff. The concoction is then heated to make homemade hash oil for a whole lot less than it would cost to purchase in your friendly neighborhood dispensary.
Hash oil can be as potent as all get-out, with some batches measuring out at up to 80 percent THC. Also, in its liquid form, the golden oil lends itself pretty easily to edibles, such as brownies, etc.
However, making the stuff is a complicated and extremely hazardous process. Without proper ventilation, butane fumes can linger. And all it takes to turn an entire house into a set-piece from a Michael Bay movie is one single spark of static electricity.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said his office has pursued felony charges against people simply for cooking hash oil at home five to 10 times so far this year.
But Brian Vicente, who helped write the Colorado pot law, said its statute allowing the processing of marijuana plants includes home hash oil production. The law is vague but as the issue has evolved, legislators should step in to find a balance, he said.
Vicente believes the explosions will decline once people realize the dangers and rely on their local and legal pot professionals instead to meet their hash oil needs.