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Hash Oil Operators Charged After Being Burned In Explosion

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DENVER (CBS4)- Three hash oil operators have been charged after they were badly burned in an explosion at a Denver warehouse.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has formally charged Matthew Ackerman and Paul Mannaioni, both 24, and 20-year-old Danielle Cordova with felonies of processing or manufacturing marijuana concentrate, because they didn’t have a license to extract hash oil.

Matthew Ackerman, Danielle Cordova and Paul Mannaioni (credit: Denver DA)

Matthew Ackerman, Danielle Cordova and Paul Mannaioni (credit: Denver DA)

“What we’re alleging here is that these three people had no legal authority to be processing marijuana concentrate,” said Denver DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

According to the arrest affidavit, the warehouse on S. Lipan Street was being used as an illegal grow house. It was not properly licensed as a marijuana grow facility or a location to produce hash oil.

Damage from an explosion on South Lipan in Denver. (credit: CBS)

Damage from an explosion on South Lipan in Denver. (credit: CBS)

The process of extracting hash oil can be legal but only with a license issued by both the city and State of Colorado.

The pricey equipment used to extract the oil from marijuana plants needs to be approved by the fire department. The location also needs to be inspected.

“I think there is still a lot of confusion around what Amendment 64 allows people to do with personal amounts of marijuana and what’s still illegal according to the state statute,” said Kimbrough.

In the case with the April 23 explosion that left the three suspects badly burned, in some cases permanently disfigured, investigators said the suspects had no license.

They were using butane from cans labeled “Meteor 7X” along with pressure cookers to extract the oil while they were underneath a tarp outside the warehouse.

(credit: CBS4)

(credit: CBS4)

One of the suspects told police that a “fireball blew up in their faces, engulfing them in the enclosed tent.”

“The process itself is inherently dangerous, there is really no safe way to do it in your kitchen or garage or backyard, that type of thing,” said Denver Fire Department Mark Watson in an earlier interview.

The three suspects are scheduled to appear in court later this month.

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