May 14, 2014 7:52 PM by Kelsey Kennedy
The number of hash oil explosions across the state is on the rise since marijuana was legalized. It's a problem News 5 has been tracking for you since January, but is it legal to make hash oil at home?
As we found out, it's still a legal gray area. It depends on how the law is interpreted.
Lee Brown is accused of producing hash oil that caused an explosion at the Westview Apartments in March. According to court papers, it's illegal to manufacture a controlled substance under the Uniformed Controlled Substance Act of 1992. Brown is facing multiple felony drug charges.
However, Amendment 64 contains language allowing adults 21 and older to "process" the drug. Some authorities consider producing hash oil at home legal, despite the dangers.
Since marijuana was legalized on January 1st, 30 hash oil explosions have been reported, injuring 24 people, according to Kevin Wong of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking area, a regional law enforcement task force. In just four months, that's more than double the number of explosions reported last year. In 2013, 12 explosions causing 18 injuries were reported.
Hash oil has highly concentrated levels of THC, the agent in marijuana that causes a high. It's made by passing butane gas through a pipe filled with marijuana plant.
Butane is highly explosive and heavier than air so it can travel along the ground until it finds an ignition source. According to Captain Mike Offutt with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, it's even more dangerous when combined with PVC pipe.
"PVC can create static electricity, which can then cause the spark," he says.
Producing hash oil at home is about half the cost of buying it in stores. However, users should leave it to licensed stores to produce hash oil since those businesses must follow strict safety regulations.