I may be crazy, but every time I hear about another hash oil explosion, I’m reminded of turkey fryers. People laugh and think I’m being silly, but I’m serious.
I remember when turkey fryers first came out. People were setting their decks, garages and houses on fire across the country. Adults and children were ending up in hospitals with severe burns, while we worried about children and neighbors or laughed about how stupid people were.
But guess what? You can still go out and buy a turkey fryer today.
Yes, every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we still read about how someone somewhere burned their house down attempting to fry their turkey. But those stories are fewer and farther between now. Why? Better technology and public education.
Just google “turkey fryer safety” and you’ll get pages and pages of information on safe use from fire departments, insurance carriers, and safety organizations.
Turkey fryers have gotten much more sophisticated and safer. If you don’t have outdoor space or are anxious about propane frying, indoor, oil-less turkey fryers are now available.
Most people have gotten the message. Whether they got it from their fire department, the media or William Shatner (see video below), somehow they’ve learned. Don’t overfill the oil. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Keep the fryer away from the house. All those safety protocols have sunk in.
“Eat, Fry, Love” a Turkey Fryer Fire Cautionary Tale presented by William Shatner & State Farm
And the proof of the results comes from State Farm:
“Turkey fryer fires are on the decline, however. State Farm found its cooking fire claims on Thanksgiving Day have been reduced from 66 claims in 2010 to 29 claims in 2012–the lowest number of claims in a decade. This could be a result of the insurer’s annual campaign to promote turkery fryer safety.”
I believe we will see the same process with hash oil production. Safer, more affordable equipment for the consumer market will be developed. We’ve already seen mini washing machines for producing water-based hash at home, and equipment for infusing oils. Why wouldn’t we expect the same for producing butane hash oil (BHO)?
Even Kevin Wong, a data analyst for the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, agrees that equipment and education are important.
Wong says explosions often involve makeshift labs. Some makers learn from YouTube and receive bad information about making hash oil that’s dangerous and puts them at risk for creating an explosion. There are safe hash oil manufacturing operations, but the equipment involved is expensive.
Most important is the public education, which we’re seeing already. Yes, there was a plethora of explosions in Colorado for a few months, but that has quieted down. As of this writing, it’s been over 5 weeks since we’ve had a bonafide hash explosion in Colorado. More people understand the risks and safety requirements for using butane at home. There’s also a greater awareness that accidents do happen and they can happen to you.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not keen on expelling large amounts of butane into our already polluted atmosphere, but I’m not keen on throwing people in jail for it either. It seems that in the United States, whenever there’s a problem, our first response is to lock ’em up. That’s how we came to be the nation with 25% of the world’s prison population although we have less than 5% of the world’s population overall. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars.
I’d prefer to see better equipment, more education and control of the butane supply. Why not try something similar to what we did with meth labs? If someone wants to purchase large amounts of butane, make them sign for it, just like Sudafed.
I’d also like to see the powers that be incorporate a little reason into their decision making. The voters of Colorado have given all adults over the age of 21 the right to grow 6 recreational marijuana plants at home. Some people are going to want to turn what they grow into concentrates, so why not set up a system to allow home growers to have their product converted to concentrates by regulated manufacturers?
Why? We don’t want to give any advantage to the gray (legal home growers) or black markets, or so the policy-makers tell me. I get the same response when I suggest that the public, especially patients, should be able to access labs and have their products tested.
What that tells me is that this isn’t really about public safety. It’s about forcing everyone into the regulated retail sales market. Even our governor refers to anything outside of the regulated market at “contraband,” conveniently forgetting that home cultivation is legal under our state constitution.
So if you’re growing at home, or having someone grow for you, whether for medical or recreational use, you’re on your own.
Convert at your own risk. Consume at your own risk. And if you screw up, we’re gonna throw you in jail.
That’s Colorado’s public safety policy.