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California Legislature

California lawmakers seek to ban marijuana oil processing labs from neighborhoods

Detectives last month seized roughly 40 pounds of marijuana, approximately 181 cans of butane, three large tubes used for extraction and about 2 ounces of "honey oil" from a Glendale home. (Glendale Police Department)
Detectives last month seized roughly 40 pounds of marijuana, approximately 181 cans of butane, three large tubes used for extraction and about 2 ounces of "honey oil" from a Glendale home. (Glendale Police Department)

Alarmed by several explosions in residential areas caused by drug processing labs, the state Assembly on Thursday voted to ban home manufacturing of marijuana concentrates using volatile solvents.

The action comes ahead of plans by the state to begin issuing licenses in January to firms for the manufacture and sale of marijuana products in California.

“As California comes to terms with newly legalized recreational cannabis, we must continue to protect public safety and keep these potentially explosive extractors out of residential neighborhoods,” Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) told his colleagues during the floor discussion.

The concentrate, often referred to as "hash oil" or "honey oil," is manufactured through extraction with a solvent. Explosions can occur when butane that extracts the oil from marijuana fails to dissipate, builds up in an enclosed space and is ignited when it comes in contact with a spark.

Steinorth cited a recent explosion at a drug lab in San Bernardino County in a house across the street from a middle school.

The measure, which next goes to the Senate for consideration, would ban the use of the volatile solvents and require those making hash oils and other cannabis concentrates to get a special permit.

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