District attorney warns of danger with butane and marijuana

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The danger is not the easier access to marijuana, rather the danger is amateurs who believe they are comparable to trained chemists.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s office released three videos last week about the life-threatening danger for individuals who try to produce butane honey oil on their own. The videos can be found on the DA’s Office website (www.rivcoda.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rivcoda).

Butane honey oil is a concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. Butane can extract the THC from the plant, thus increasing its concentration. The product is called butane honey oil, nectar, honey oil or various names, none of which suggest its danger.

However, butane is a colorless and odorless gas, which is very flammable.

“People need to understand the substance and process used to make it takes lives,” District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in the first of the three videos.

While Hestrin acknowledges that the use of marijuana is legal in certain conditions and will expand under Proposition 64, the manufacture and use of BHO is illegal under California law.

The videos include statements from Alex Gonzales and Seline Cervantes who were severely burned (third-degree burns) when he was trying to extract THC in a Palm Springs motel in February 2015.

“Something sparked the extremely volatile and easily ignited butane, causing it to explode and the room — and those in it — to catch fire. Alex was able to escape quickly and had second- and third-degree burns over 51 percent of his body,” said the DA press release. “It took Selina less than a minute to get out but even in that short time the explosion and fire resulted in second- and third-degree burns over 97 percent of her body.”

Both survived and agreed to participate in the videos as part of Gonzales’ terms of probation.

“Making [BHO] is so dangerous, there’s no point,” Gonzales says in the video.

Hestrin was adamant that the manufacture of BHO will be prosecuted in Riverside County. In the past two years, more than 60 cases have been filed, according to Deputy District Attorney Greg Rollins.

Funding for the informational videos and the marketing campaign comes from the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act , according to the press release.

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