Michigan “homes are blowing up from ‘blasting’ marijuana, a risky business,” warned former judge Brian MacKenzie last year. In Battle Creek, on July 22, 2018, a massive fire displaced more than 60 people in a four-story apartment building. The explosion started in a marijuana lab. Since the Michigan ballot would allow 12 plants per residence — more than any state — it offers an invitation to hide drug labs in the home or apartment. Could your family or neighborhood be next?
Another butane hash oil fire erupted in Battle Creek earlier this year, seriously injuring the young man who started the fire. Firemen find butane hash oil fires far more dangerous than ordinary house fires because of their heat and explosiveness.
Of all the states in the eastern half of the country, Michigan is the only one where marijuana lab explosions occur regularly, sometimes resulting in death. The drug labs, also called butane hash oil (BHO) labs provide a way to make a stronger, more potent product and to undercut the price of dispensary marijuana. People who are addicted often go for “wax,” “dabs” or “shatter” to get their fix. Michigan had two explosions in one weekend of January 2018.
When Michiganders go to the polls to vote on marijuana, they face the fact that pot use can affect anyone and everyone. It’s not only the smell of secondhand smoke in apartment buildings and in the public parks. Home chemists who use and sell dabs find new markets after legalization, and the number of explosions increases.
Fire on July 22, 2018: https://wwmt.com/news/local/investigators-believe-butane-hash-oil-lab-was-the-cause-of-village-inn-fire
Michigan Children and Teens put in harm’s way
A 10-year-old girl in Michigan suffered from second degree burns in a BHO fire on May 6, 2018. She told a court that her dad was cooking wax at the time and that there had been a previous incident of fire from making wax. She also said that her dad sometimes feeds her marijuana products, usually at night because it helps her sleep. The mother now has sole legal custody of the two children.
The mother of a 13-year-old boy made butane hash oil from marijuana in a Michigan hotel on May 17, 2017. The fire caused serious injuries to both Brian Adams and his brother Marcus. Fortunately, Brian survived the fire, even with burns on 90% of his body. Emergency technicians airlifted him to Boston for treatment. After seven months, he came home to a welcoming crowd in Michigan.
Last summer, a 19-year-old teen from Michigan died from his burns in a butane hash oil explosion. Two others were seriously injured, and the explosion scared the neighbors in Redford Township.
Michiganders need to think of the insurance costs, emergency service costs and the many ways fires, pot poisonings and stoned drivers will impact their lives.
Other States have a BHO problem
From 2011 to 2015, 42 people died in California’s BHO fires, including one child. The fires continued after legalization. Three men started a fatal fire on the first day marijuana became legal.
In Colorado, a two-month-old baby died. He slept in the room adjacent to the BHO laboratory. The very young and very old are most vulnerable to the breathing difficulties brought on by fumes of butane gas.
The explosions occur in both rich and poor neighborhoods. Two men died in a middle class area of North Portland last summer when the owner was making BHO. The owner’s home and an adjacent home burned to the ground. Flames shot across the street to the public park where children were playing.
Legacy Oregon Burn Center treated 45 butane blast patients between 2014 and August, 2017.
Other States have an edibles problems
Accidental poisonings are a problem with marijuana edibles. Washington Poison Control reported 378 cases of toxic exposure to marijuana in 2017. In the 0-5 year age group, there were 82 exposures last year, compared 20 in 2012, the year Washingtonians voted to legalize.
A ballot to legalize marijuana in Maine barely squeaked by the voters in 2016. Maine says the number of young children accidentally ingesting marijuana rose from 2 in 2016 to 16 in 2017.