Xavier Renner died from the butane hash oil fire that rocked Humboldt County the day after California’s vote to legalize. That explosion happened in a Rio Dell garage on November 9, 2016. His friends, Aaron Mohr and Aaron Schisler, also had burns on 60 to 90 percent of their bodies. The landlords and friends working with him have been charged with murder, although Renner made the choice to experiment with making BHO, The charges against the landlords who own the detached garage are extreme.
California cannot control home chemists who make honey oil, also called BHO, the potent extract of marijuana with high THC. Some people refer to BHO as “marijuana crack.”
In nearby Mendocino County, another fire caused by a suspected hash oil lab occurred on October 22. It destroyed four apartment units at the Brooktrails Lodge near Willits and left at least two burn victims. Explosions of that type often force unsuspecting neighbor out of their homes. (Photo above comes from Peter Armstrong for Willits News.)
California authorities say they discover one of these labs at least once every week, a trend that was the same before marijuana became legal after the vote of November 8. Passing laws to curb cannabis labs doesn’t seem to stop the trend. However, some localities have tried to stop butane sales.
The Sacramento Bee wrote an excellent editorial: Death isn’t even a deterrent to making this type of marijuana.
Another Humboldt County murder case
Another Humboldt County murder case would startle the rest of the country. Last year Marci Kitchen was allegedly drunk when she crashed into her daughter and the daughter’s friend Faith Tsarnes. The girls, age 14, died, and Kitchen fled from the scene. People have already convicted Marci Kitchen in the court of public opinion. Such a crime is very hard to understand, but people need to recognize that California enables this type of crime. Attorneys have called for a delay in the trial and possibly of a change of venue.
One detail gets lost in the discussion. Toxicology reports showed that both Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnes were THC positive. They were skateboarding at 9:15 p.m. Homes in this Fortuna neighborhood have marijuana home grows, as is expected in the community. Otherwise, the public would question the girls’ decision-making which led them to skateboard while high on pot.
The lessons learned in these two Humboldt County cases is that California has embraced marijuana and all its problems. By enabling marijuana, the state is complicit in the these deaths of young people. (The three young men making hash oil in Rio Dell were only 21.) These type of crimes also happen in other states that have legalized marijuana. Over the summer Colorado District Attorney Dan May said that “Marijuana is the gateway to homicide.”
Humboldt County, with a population of 130,000, has some of the highest rates of suicide, missing people and homicide in the state, with 23 homicides last year. That’s life in marijuana country.