32 Marijuana-Making Explosions In Colorado Last Year; Are They Crimes?


Amateur marijuana alchemists in Colorado, which has legalized the drug, are turning kitchens and basements into “Breaking Bad”-style laboratories, using flammable chemicals to extract potent drops of a marijuana concentrate commonly called hash oil, and accidentally blowing up their homes and lighting themselves on fire in the process, the New York Times reports. Other states have reported similar problems, but the Colorado blasts are creating a headache for lawmakers and courts. As cities clamp down on homemade hash oil and lawmakers consider outlawing it, some enthusiasts argue for their right to make it safely without butane. Defense lawyers say the practice can no longer be considered a crime under the legalization law.

There were 32 blasts across Colorado in 2014, up from 12 a year earlier. Paul Mannaioni, 24, was charged with fourth-degree arson and manufacturing marijuana after explosions ripped through a marijuana cooperative in Denver. Legalization may have given licensed marijuana manufacturing facilities the ability to extract hash oil legally in controlled environments, but officials say dangerous, homemade operations using flammable butane are still illegal. Mannaioni's lawyer, Robert Corry, argues that when voters legalized marijuana for personal use and recreational sales, they made the drug no longer an issue for the police and courts, but for the regulators and bureaucrats who enforce the civil codes surrounding marijuana growers and dispensaries.

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