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. As Michigan voters consider the legalization of marijuana, they need to evaluate how they will pay for these tragedies that occur regularly on the west coast.
My name is Bill McManus and I have been battling pot in Calaveras County for over three years. I am a ZERO TOLERANCE activist to rid our county of all commercial cultivation of pot. I know we have to deal with PROP 64 (California’s Recreational Pot Initiative which passed 11/16), but even that law allows for banning outdoor grows based on a county’s jurisdiction to regulate land use.
I have seen this criminal enterprise up close and personal. Hundreds, if not thousands of residents are considering leaving our county because of the abuse of the pot cartels. I myself have been assaulted twice and had both of my vehicles vandalized. One thing is crystal clear, if you allow any of it, you get all of it and according to the latest info from Central Valley HIDTA, Calaveras county is rivaling the Emerald Triangle for illegal pot production.
Crime Went Way Up!
In the last two years, crime has gone up 400%. The District Attorney is handling 18 marijuana-related murders in our county, a county with only 45,000 residents!
Our small county has somewhere between 1500 and 2000 illegal grows. We have had human trafficking problems, illegal timber harvests, illegal grading, illegal stream diversions, water theft, destroyed rural roads from water trucks hauling stolen water out to pot grows, one family in the Federal Witness Protection Program because the husband serviced porta potties at a pot grow………the list goes on and on.
If you want to see the ugly side of the pot cartels, give me a call. I will show you what is going on and introduce you to people who are afraid to leave their homes because of nearby pot grows. Identified cartels in this county include, Hmongs, Motorcycle gangs from the valley, Mexican mafia, Russian mafia, Jamaican Cartels, Asian cartels, and refugee cartels from the Emerald Triangle. BAN it, BAN it all. If even one hair’s breadth of opening is given to them, you will LOSE the battle, your lifestyles, your security in your home, and all sense of community.
Grab a flak vest and come visit Calaveras County. By the way, county Code Compliance officials are not allowed to enter any pot grow without a sheriff escort……what about the citizens who remain behind after the inspections?
When I was using medicinal grade marijuana from dispensaries, I defended the drug vigorously–even though I knew it was negatively impacting my quality of life. Though I could still function, and my productivity was not significantly impacted, my ability to fluidly process information and communicate slowed.
I developed rings under my eyes, my eyes were always dry, my heart frequently palpitated out of sync, and most importantly I showed signs of pre-psychosis such as mania (getting over-the-top hyped about various ideas), paranoia (I feared a home invasion and went crazy with security measures), and my mind was often saturated with morbid thoughts (which I fixated on and couldn’t shake for days at a time). What kind of thoughts? Dark thoughts that became so frequent that I actually begin to think I might be going crazy.
While this was happening I was on social media defending the drug against critics, sharing its many medicinal benefits, and downplaying its dangers by comparing it to alcohol and tobacco.
I was rolling along in that state of dishonesty and hypocrisy when suddenly my cousin, a lifelong marijuana user, shot himself to death, leaving behind a beautiful family, a successful business, and a trail of pain and sorrow. I quit cold turkey when I learned that a psychologist had previously told him to stop using marijuana because it was causing psychosis.
After I quit, my health and outlook improved dramatically within days. I then began researching the relationship between marijuana and psychotic episodes and was astounded by what I found. I am now standing firmly against marijuana and doing everything I can to make people aware of its dangers. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share my story. It might save someone’s life.
BHO Labs are a By-Product of Increased Access to the Drug
On November 9, 2016, in California, three men in Humboldt County celebrated their marijuana freedom by extracting BHO from marijuana. On the first day pot was 100% legal in California, their actions sparked a fire. Helicopters airlifted the injured men to UC Davis Hospital because their burns were so extensive.
BHO or butane hash oil, which Californians call “honey oil” is a highly potent extract of the marijuana plant. Using highly flammable butane, amateurs extract the oil which can produce the strongest, most immediate high. Pot advocates claim that dangerous BHO fires are a by-product of “prohibition,” but they didn’t start happening until 2011, a good 15 years after so-called “medical” marijuana was legalized in 1996 by California. In 2009, medical marijuana dispensaries proliferated, and in 2010, the first BHO lab was discovered. By 2011, 8 illegal BHO labs were discovered, 3 of which exploded. In 2012, authorities uncovered 20 BHO labs, 16 of which had fires. In 2013, authorities found 68 BHO labs and 38 of them went up in flames. Nine people died from these BHO Labs in California that year.
In Washington, marijuana was legal — but not yet commercial – in 2013. A huge blast rocked an apartment complex in Bellevue. The BHO fire sparked huge flames and completely damaged two 12-unit apartment buildings. One hundred fire fighters and police spent 7 hours putting out the flames, in November, 2013. Neighbors jumped from the 2nd and 3rd floors. One elderly woman died from an injury sustained while fleeing from the fire.
The state did not take action, federal authorities needed to step in and establish that operating hash oil labs constituted reckless endangerment to human life. (Those responsible for the Bellevue fire and others convicted.) Today, both California and Colorado have laws making BHO manufacture in a residential setting a felony.
Worst Year for Fire and Death in 2014
In 2014, 32 people died in California from these explosions. In 2011, there were 5 explosions from butane extractions in California. The illegal practice grew until 2014, when 232 hash oil labs were discovered in California and 102 of them exploded. The state legislature then passed a law making the illegal manufacture of marijuana into hash oil a felony. If operating near a school or home with children, these crimes are now considered “aggravated felonies.”
In 2015, there were at least five hash oil fires in Butte and Shasta Counties. Seven children and five adults were at home during one of these fires. In another huge fire in Redding in 2015, residents of 12 units were evacuated as a result of the massive explosion.
The fire near Seattle’s SeaTac airport last March 21st occurred in a house next door to a day care center. No children were there at the time, but it was a close call.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown signed a law in 2016 making unlicensed production of marijuana extracts a felony. The bill was intended to target homemade butane hash oil setups. However, the fires are still taking place.