Category Archives: Washington

Does Accepting Teen Pot Use Increase Violence?

The shootings last week in Marysville, Washington, forces into question: What triggers school violence?  Jaylen Fryberg, who shot himself and five others, was a popular, 15-year old Homecoming Prince.  Last December at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, an 18-year old with few signs of mental illness, shot a fellow student and tried to shoot a teacher.  One died at Arapahoe HS, while three died this past week, plus the shooters.

Teachers and mental health professionals are supposed to be able to spot a troubled youth.  These teen boys defied that category.  Jaylen Fryberg, was upset over a break-up and invited friends to eat lunch with him, knowing he would shoot them.  Karl Pierson was upset with a teacher who kicked him off the debate team, and so decided to shoot people. To seek revenge and kill oneself after a disappointment is not normal.   These youth came from the states that had legalized marijuana.  Marijuana needs to be added to our discussion of what causes mass violence, along with violence in the media, access to guns, violent video games, etc.  (Since this article was written, the Twitter feed of Jaylen Fryberg showed him to be quite a marijuana user.  His ex-girlfriend said it made his stupid.)

From the esteemed Lancet Psychiatry Journal, we know that teens who use marijuana are 7x more likely to attempt suicide.  Marijuana blunts feelings.  Both Jaylen and Karl lacked empathy for themselves and others.   Did these boys use marijuana? How much? How long?  Legalizing pot normalizes it; states that have long-term medical marijuana programs have higher usage of  all drugs.   Those who support legalization proposals are promoting a system that legitimizes it.  When pot is normal (or tobacco or booze) for adults, teen usage rises.

Mass shooters James Holmes and Jared Loughner  were known to be marijuana users — and not moderate in their use.  Marijuana averages 13% THC today, opposed to 1-3% in the 1970s and 80s.   Did marijuana feed their psychosis and the psychopathology of Fryberg, Pierson, Columbine killers and others?  Using marijuana increases the  chances for psychotic episodes, anxiety, aggression, schizophrenia, among other problems.

Karl Pierson, an 18-year old shot his classmates at Arapahoe High School in Colorado on Dec. 13, 2013
Karl Pierson, an 18-year old killed a classmate at Arapahoe HS in Colorado on Dec. 13, 2013. Does his diary, now under discussion, reveal marijuana usage?

In all fairness, two of the worst mass shooters in the US, the perpetrators of the Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech massacres, appear to have never used marijuana.  They were more logical in their planning and succeeded in killing more people, unfortunately.

Modern Reefer “Madness”

For every claim of a brilliant mind that used marijuana, without negative effect,  there’s another person who was harmed by using it.  The people described below indicate that marijuana has strong adverse reactions for some individuals, and for society.

1) On September 26, Brian Howard started a fire at the air traffic controllers station in Aurora, IL, holding up commercial planes for days. He was high, and admitted to having smoked marijuana right before the incident.

2)  Amanda Bynes’ mother said she hasn’t been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as rumored, and blamed the weird behavior on heavy marijuana use.  Amanda alleged her father had committed child and sexual abuse, but recanted.

3) Kevin Ward, Jr., was tragically hit by race car driver Tony Stewart on August 8, 2014, after he got out of his car to confront an oncoming driver on the track.  He eventually died. It’s perplexing that he would get out of his car considering the situation, but autopsy results show he had marijuana intoxication.

4) Marijuana probably affected the mental states of Megan Huntsman and Erika Murray–two neglectful mothers who let their babies die in their homes.   Other drugs may be involved, too.

5) According to the father of Jodi Arias, accused of the bizarre behavior and the murder of her boyfriend, she has never been the same since she started to grow marijuana at age 14.

6) Johar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston bombers, was supposedly easy- going and smoked a lot of pot.   Since the Boston Marathon bombing, his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev has since been linked to a triple murder on Sept. 11, 2011.  The victims had their throats slashed and were covered in marijuana.

7) In  2012, James Holmes shot and killed 12, and wounded 58, in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater.   Though he probably had not been sane for a number of years, a neighbor reported that he was frequently seen outside by the apartment building smoking pot.

8) On May 26, 2012, Rudy Eugene was caught on tape eating another man in Miami for 18 minutes before police arrived.  When police couldn’t stop him, he was shot.  Eugene died while the disfigured man survived. Toxicology reports showed that marijuana was the only drug in Eugene’s body when he gnawed the man.

9) Casey Anthony was amazingly detached from her actions and from her daughter’s death.  According to a friend of Casey Anthony, she smoked a lot of marijuana, but he was unaware if she used other drugs.

Amanda Knox is far more emotional today.  Did marijuana blunt her emotions in Perugia back in 2007?   Photo: The Guardian
Amanda Knox is far more emotional today. Did marijuana blunt her emotions in Perugia back in 2007? Photo: The Guardian

10) Amanda Knox, when confronted by police the day after Meredith Kercher’s brutal murder.  A regular pot smoker at the time, she admitted to smoking marijuana the night of the murder.  Her blunted emotional reaction to the bloody incident during police questioning was very strange.  (THC stays in the body up to a month, it doesn’t pass like alcohol.)  Without judging Knox to be guilty, we can certainly understand why Knox’s non-reaction to her roommates’ bloody death would lead Italian police to think she was guilty.  She is also from Washington, a state that worships marijuana usage at a festival each year.  One may conclude that Knox was excessively immature and out of touch, but then what was she doing in a foreign country?

A recent  shooter in Washington, Aaron Ybarra , had also “dabbled” in marijuana, although alcohol also played into his demons.  These shooting seem frequent in western states.  We need to see the correlation between the most unexpected school shootings and having medical marijuana in a state.   Why do states without medical marijuana come up in the news less frequently?

The list could go on, but this page represents a warning against validating marijuana.   It’s ungrounded to think legalization would make marijuana less appealing to those under age 21, or regulate underage usage.  Knox, Ward, Anthony,Johar Tsarnaev or Arias were under age 21 during the incidents, or when they started using marijuana. It’s likely that every individual mentioned above began use while while in adolescence.

This “experiment” in legalization is an opportunity for us to step up the warnings and increase funding for drug education and prevention.  It’s time to stop saying that marijuana isn’t harmful, or that it’s safer than alcohol.  Most of these examples are Caucasians, but there’s also a Native American, one black and one Hispanic.  Crazy, pot-influenced behaviors and psychosis don’t discriminate.  They affect male and female, though the males are more likely to be shooters.

Washington’s Marijuana Program is a Train Wreck

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado admitted his state was “reckless” to legalize marijuana, but the public hears less about the train wreck in Washington state.   The big lesson in Washington is that an unregulated medical marijuana system doesn’t suddenly get regulated — after marijuana is legalized for recreational use.

DUIDs for marijuana have increased significantly and that the hopes tax revenue haven’t been met.  There’s another aspect of the marijuana program in Washington…… wreckless destruction!   The “explosion of Washington’s marijuana industry has some police busier than ever,” read a headline back in June. Continue reading Washington’s Marijuana Program is a Train Wreck

Hash Oil Explosions Rise with Legal Pot

Another consequence of changing a public policy to benefit the 6- 7% of adults who use marijuana is the slew of hash oil explosions which have occurred this year.  Making BHO, butane hash oil is a relatively easy, but dangerous, process.

Did anyone figure ambulances, fire fighters and emergency medical care into the cost of legalizing marijuana?  Voters in Oregon, Alaska, Washington, DC, and two cities, Lewiston and South Portland, Maine, need to think of possible consequences before legalizing another dangerous drug.  States considering medical marijuana also need to factor in the legality of making BHO, and the cost for public services when the fires occur.

Downloadable Fact Sheet

Get the Parents Opposed to Pot Hash Oil Facts! Download our new flyer, which describes the hash oil explosions in states which have permissive marijuana laws: POPPOT-Hash Oil Statistics.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called a meeting last week to pass an ordinance that would restrict unlicensed  amateurs using flammables to process marijuana.  There have been 8 blasts in the   city of Denver this year, and 31 in the state.  After an objection was voiced at the meeting on September 15, the discussion was tabled.

Congress made a huge mistake, when on May 30, the House of Representatives voted not to allow Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) funds to be used to investigate federal violations in states with medical marijuana.

Like passing child protection laws, or keeping the marijuana businesses out of communities, it seems impossible to pass any restrictions which might stop marijuana consumption, commerce or expansion in Colorado.  (Marijuana has caused three non-traffic deaths in Colorado this year: one incidence of child neglect in January and two deaths from potent edibles, in March and April.)

Firefighters putting out a hash oil explosion in Jefferson County, Colorado
Firefighters putting out a hash oil explosion in Jefferson County, Colorado.  Photo: CBS Denver

The marijuana industry told voters marijuana is “safer than alcohol,” but the social and public service costs must be staggering by now.  The fires and explosions are increasing, because extracting hash oil from marijuana has become more popular.  The promised tax revenues from marijuana are much lower than was projected, and black markets still thrive.

Seared Skin and Burn Centers

“Hash Oil’s Trail of Seared Skin and Annihilated Homes”  reports of one death in Hawaii early this year and one death in Oregon last year. “March Madness” was a term used to describe the numerous hash oil blasts that took place during one month this year.   Five explosions happened in Colorado during one week in April.

Butane hash oil must be made in an open or well-ventilated area.  If the butane sparks something else, explosions can occur.  What makes it dangerous is that butane is highly flammable, sensitive to heaters, pilot lights, electric cords, a cigarette or the slightest spark of a match.

Of the 31 hash oil explosions that had occurred in Colorado by early May this year,  21 involved injuries and 10 of those suffered from major burns requiring extensive treatment.  In the previous year, there were 11 such explosions in the state, with 11 people treated for burns.  According to an official of the state’s burn center, at University of Colorado’s burn unit, the first explosion occurred in 2012. Most victims are males in their 20s and 30s.

A hash oil explosion.  Photo: ABC7 News Denver
A hash oil explosion. Photo: ABC7 News Denver

A  request to search the records of Oregon’s only burn center over a 16- month period showed that 17 people were treated for butane hash oil burns, including two residents of southwest Washington.  A 12-year old girl sustained broken bones after jumping from the 2nd floor, to escape a Medford, Oregon, hash oil fire last November.

In California, during a 14- month period from 2013 to early 2014, 27 people were treated for hash oil burns in one Northern California burn unit, 17 in southern California centers.  In California, it’s legal for medical marijuana patients to use or buy the hash oil, but illegal for amateurs to make it.  We have written previously of the children endangered by theses blasts. 

Fortunately, no one has died in Colorado from BHO-explosions, though some people have sustained horrible burns.

As far as state law goes, making the hash oil in a home is perfectly legal in Colorado, as reported on ABC7 News.  Charges of arson or child endangerment can be filed, however, when there is property damage, others are put in danger, or children are nearby.

Homes, Apartments and Property Damage

hashoilexplosionSeattle
A hash oil explosion at a Bellevue apartment complex fire caused one death to a former mayor and $1.5 million in damages.  Photo above and below: US District Court of Western Washington

Federal District Attorneys in Washington, California and Oregon have been excessively slow in response to the explosions, despite the extensive damage to property, deaths and injuries to others.  The explosions began 2-3 years ago on the West Coast, but it is only in the last few months that the Department of Justice appears to have decided that action is necessary.

Last weekend the Los Angelos Times reported 20 butane hash oil explosions in San Diego County, alone, within the year. There was $1.2 million of damage to an apartment building in San Diego last January.  The explosions have occurred from New England to Florida, and from to British Columbia to Arizona.

In May, the Oregonian ran a series of online articles about BHO (butane hash oil), detailing the hows and whys of making it, and the explosions.  It has only become popular in the last 3 years.

The hash oil explosion in a Bellevue apartment complex resulted in severe injuries to those who had to jump
The fire at Bellevue apartment complex resulted in severe injuries to those who had to jump, and one woman who died. Three men have been charged for the incident of Nov. 5, 2013.

On July 22, 2014, the US attorney in western Washington filed charges against seven people, mainly for “endangering human life while manufacturing controlled substances.”  The individuals caused fires or explosions in Seattle, Puyallup, Kirkland and Bellevue.  The Bellevue fire caused a massive explosion to an apartment complex, $1.5 million in damages, and killed a former mayor of Bellevue.   During this occurrence, two women experienced multiple fractures, having jumped from second- and third-floor windows to escape flames.

One of those facing federal charges in Puyallup, Washington, was making the hash oil for a marijuana edibles. He’s the owner of an edibles’ company, “Capn Cosmics.”  Additionally, he’s  charged with endangering the life of a 14-month old child.

The District Attorney in Washington asserts that the actions are illegal, because they cause harm to others and to property, although in the past officials found issues of legality hazy in Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

tigard-car-fire
A California many has been indicted for starting the BHO blast in a Tigard, Oregon, parking lot on July 29. Photo: KoinTV

On July 29 in Tigard, Oregon, a parking lot explosion injured one and destroyed or damaged five motor vehicles.  A grand jury indicted a California man for knowingly and intentionally creating a substantial risk of harm to human life in connection materials exploded, and for manufacturing marijuana.  It’s thought to be the first time the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon has filed charges in connection with a hash oil explosion.

State regulations in California and Colorado haven’t stopped the explosions.  California doesn’t allow medi-pot patients to produce BHO, while Oregon and Washington’s medical pot programs don’t regulate BHO.  Colorado and Washington require BHO to be tested for residual butane before being placed on dispensary shelves.

Why is Hash Oil Popular?

Marijuana users are looking for the quicker, faster high—even though they think marijuana is not addictive.  Yet, there are great psychological risks, too, and some users have had psychotic episodes from using this potent substance.

For sellers, it’s an easy way to make large profits.   However, making it at home is so much cheaper, and it’s gaining popularity.

There are plenty of YouTube videos and other online instructions for amateurs to follow.  Makers begin by putting cannabis leaves and flowers in an extraction tube, like a pipe.  They then put the colorless, odorless butane in that small area to extract the THC quickly, letting it fall through a small filter on bottom.  Spraying with butane is called blasting the marijuana, which pulls the THC right out of it.

Problems are most likely to occur indoors or when there is not good ventilation.

makingbutanehash
A butane hash “chef” packs a pipe with marijuana trimmings that will be used to make butane hash. (Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The solvent or butane must be flushed out.  It can be boiled off in a hot water bath, which is why some home producers use hot baths or double boilers. Many commercial enterprises have the butane pumped out with a vacuum vacuum chamber to lower butane’s boiling point, pulling butane from the oil.

The result is a hash oil which looks like honey.  It’s like the crack cocaine of marijuana.  The THC content can be  70 to 85 percent, while the average joint may be 20 to 25 percent THC.  After cooling, the oil hardens and is broken into bits.  Sometimes the explosions occur in the cooling process, as when the refrigerator door blew off in Manitou Springs.

Butane has oil, a highly potent distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day.  (Photo: ABC News)
Butane has oil, distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day. (Photo: ABC News)

There are many nicknames for butane hash oil: “Wax,” “Honey oil,” “earwax,” “dabs” “shatter” and more.   It could be smoked, vaped or infused into the edibles.   Vaping is a concern, since the vape pens are the e-cigarettes of marijuana.  It is  a way that teens may be using marijuana without detection.

In short, hash oil offers a quick and lasting high for users.   A single hit can last more than a day.   By making it, it costs a user about 50% less than it would by buying it from a licensed dispensary or maker.