Marijuana Lab Explosion Boom
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Colorado is experiencing a boom in explosions of THC home laboratories relative to such occurrences prior to legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in the state. Self-admitted burns from butane hash oil accidents have also increased.
According to data compiled from various fire responder departments and hospital emergency departments, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RHIDTA) , which is a division of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, provided the following information:
- There were 20 confirmed THC lab explosions, across the state of Colorado, during the first four months of 2014. There were 24 injuries related to these explosions.
- >There were 12 confirmed THC Lab Explosions with 18 injuries during the entire year in 2013.
- There were only two confirmed THC lab explosions during 2009 resulting in three injuries.
- Nationwide, it is estimated that there were only 17 THC lab explosions between 2013 and 2014.
- 2014 = 10 (01/01/14-05/08/14)
- 2013 = 11 (01/01/13-12/31/13)
- 2012 = 1 (01/01/12-12/31/12)
- 2011 = 1 (01/01/11-12/31/11)
Kevin Wong, an RHIDTA intelligence analyst, noted that the actual number could be higher. He said that 30 explosions have been reported this year, but currently he can only confirm 20 of them.
"These numbers can change day to day, hour to hour," Wong said. "We report as accurately as possible from the information that comes into us, knowing that this information can and will change."
"The majority of these explosions are related to butane hash oil extraction in a residential setting ," he added.
This is so because Colorado permits the making of hash oil in the home. Butane is used in the manufacturing of hash oil, which is derived from homegrown marijuana . Butane fumes linger in the house if there is not appropriate ventilation. It does not take much to ignite the fumes.
Wong said that the University of Colorado Burn Unit, which receives patients from all over the state, but primarily the Denver metro area, reported the following data for self-admitted burn victims of Butane Hash Oil incidents:
When asked to what he would attribute these increases, Wong blamed the legislative shifts.
"Legalization of marijuana leads to the increase in availability and the ability to manufacture hash oil," he said. "This can potentially lead to an increase in accidents."
But proponents of marijuana legalization say that these incidents will decrease when people start realizing it might be more expensive but worth it to buy hash oil instead of making their own. They will eventually realize that the risk is not worth reward.
Insurance companies are not interested in covering damages caused by hash oil manufacturing in the house. But because it is a legal action they are bound to indemnify their clients.