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Honey oil processing is a rising threat to communities

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Honey oil is highly concentrated THC from marijuana and it is not new. It is also called hash oil, ear wax and many other things. There is an explosion in honey oil processing with liquid butane gas. It is a highly flammable process that can be done anywhere, making honey oil processing the most rapidly growing threat to homes and communities since meth. According to a Jan. 29 KCRA News report, six people were arrested on Tuesday in Placer County after a honey oil fire started in a mobile home.

A similar fire started in Rancho Cordova a week earlier. That fire caused 146 residents to be evacuated from an apartment complex.

According to a Jan. 25 article in the Chicoer, Butte County is the leading source of butane processed honey oil. An explosion happened at Cold Creek Lane in Oroville on January 17. This was the fourth Butte County incident in just a few weeks. All told, 14 labs were seized in Butte County since July 2013.

HOW HONEY OIL IS PROCESSED

The butane gas captures and crystallizes cannabis resins. After the liquid butane crystallizes and traps the cannabis resins, the mixture, called solvent, is sent through a tube.

The solvent comes out of the tube and is captured in a glass container. The liquid butane evaporates quickly, leaving the sticky resins behind. For a more refined result, the processors might use a vacuum to produce various textures of honey oil or hash oil.

The result is a 60 percent to 80 percent concentration of pure THC. Unprocessed marijuana contains about 20 to 30 percent THC. The resulting high from hash oil can last for hours.

A honey oil packet the size of a sugar packet might retail for $50.

LEGAL ISSUES SURROUNDING HONEY OIL

Holding a small amount of hash oil is not illegal under Prop. 215. Processing the oil, however, will bring several kinds of charges, including the same charges as making meth. Other charges may include manufacturing a controlled substance, maintaining a drug house and conspiracy. If children are in the home, there is felony child endangerment. Causing an unlawful fire is another possible charge.

THREATS TO COMMUNITIES

In summary, processing honey oil processing is not as explosive as processing meth, but the flammability is off the charts. The work can be done anywhere, leaving whole communities unaware that a single spark could cause serious to catastrophic fires at any time.

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