Eruption in Hash Oil explosions have law enforcement, neighbors increasing awareness to fight the flames
The legalization of marijuana has helped fuel an eruption of Hash Oil dangers across Washington state.
Put in the middle of the explosions – are neighbors and first responders.
“It’s growing from what we’ve seen around the state in trends,” Sergeant James Mjor with the Washington State Patrol explains.
Hash Oil or “honey oil” as it’s sometimes called is a highly concentrated form of THC, the active ingredient that makes people high. It’s easy to make and almost three times as strong. Mjor says, “A bud of marijuana in the Pacific Northwest typically is about 30% THC. After you make this Hash Oil, we’re seeing in excess of 80%.”
To get that strength, butane is used to pull THC out of the marijuana leaf. “You need a couple of supplies from the hardware store. You need some butane, and then you just need patience. Let the solvent that you use evaporate and you’re left with THC oil,” Mjor adds.” As easy as that sounds, mistakes have led to explosions all over Washington State. “Typically what happens is you have a wall blown out, sometimes a roof is lifted off of the walls,” Mjor continues.
From January to July of this year in Puget Sound alone, there have been six hash oil fires. That is double what it was all of last year, and that doesn’t include the many fires outside of Puget Sound. It’s a problem that’s growing so fast, it’s a hot topic at upcoming training sessions. Mjor says, “From an investigative side of things, there’s the studies coming that we’re finding, and luckily we’re learning from everybody else, a taser will set off the environment. This solvent stays low to the ground because it’s heavier than air so just pulling a plug can cause an explosion.”
There will also be training for firefighters on what to look for in addition to fighting the flames. “It’s not going to be any one thing, it’s going to be a totality of what we find, but, the marijuana, the pipes and plumbing type items that they use to make it, butane canisters, Pyrex dishes or glass dishes, coffee filters. And all that together should, obviously bells and whistles should go off for the person responding.”
And for those worried about an explosion in their neighborhood, Sgt. Mjor says evacuating quickly is key. “If you’re downwind from that , what are you inhaling? It could be potentially lethal limits that you’re inhaling from being downwind from one of these so it not only affects a house, it could affect the whole community, Mjor warns.
A danger unheard of even just a few years ago. Mjor adds, “We’re into a new generation of use and legality of marijuana that I think we’ve created some of these issues that we’ve got to deal with.”