Colorado is seeing a rise in injuries and explosions as marijuana smokers attempt to distill hash oil in their homes and garages, the Associated Press reports.
Using a process called “blasting,” users put marijuana leaves into a pipe and run butane through them. The concoction is then heated in an attempt to distill the hash oil “moonshine” style.
The risks associated with “lasting” can be huge. Butane is highly flammable and can be ignited by something as small as a static electricity spark. Since Jan. 1 there have been 31 explosions in Colorado linked to “blasting,” including five in one week in April. In 2013, there were 11.
“These today are the meth labs of the ’90s,” Sgt. Pat Long from the Denver suburb of Thornton told the AP. “We have to change our thinking and what we’re looking for.”
Fire officials now look out for butane cans at the site of an explosion as the tell-tale sign that it was a hash oil cooking gone wrong.
Long points out that dealing with the fallout from the legalization of marijuana has a new challenge his officers face.
“We did this to ourselves as a state, so we are going to have to live with what is happening out there,” he said.
The problem facing law enforcement is that while “blasting” can be incredibly dangerous and can turn a house or garage into a small bomb, it is entirely legal under the Colorado law.
Users claim that just a few drops of hash oil can give bigger and better highs than a complete marijuana joint because the THC compound in it can approach levels of 80 percent concentration.