DENVER (CBS4) – Members of the Denver City Council stopped a proposed ordinance to ban hash oil making at home in its tracks on Tuesday night after hearing the pleas from a father who is desperate to help his daughter.
Vivian Wilson suffers from seizures that are brought on by a form of epilepsy. Her family moved from New Jersey to Colorado because here they can make the hash they say they need to curb the effects of her disease.
But the manufacturing of hash at home using solvents like butane or acetone has caused numerous fires and explosions throughout the Denver metro area since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado. A city-wide ban on hash oil creation seemed like it was on an easy track to the mayor’s desk.
That all changed when council members heard Vivian’s father tell their story. Brian Wilson says home hash oil making is vital for his daughter’s health.
“We thought we were going to come here and we weren’t going to have to worry about fighting any more,” Wilson said. “But almost every week you hear about something that being proposed.”
Authors of the ordinance will now consider some changes that would allow families like the Wilsons to continue to making the hash they hope is saving their daughter.
“What we heard in there is if we’re using a small quantity in an open-air environment without applying heat, (we) don’t see a huge threat here,” said Denver Fire Department Chief Eric Tade. “The responsible thing is is to listen and take that input into consideration and see if we can improve the ordinance and I’m pretty confident that we will actually improve it.”
Usually in the home hash oil making process, unstable elements are used to extract THC — marijuana’s active ingredient — which then creates a potent oil or butter that is odorless and can be smoked, cooked or vaped.
Flammable gases can build up when solvents like butane or acetone are used, and an explosion can occur when the room is not vented properly.
“Butane is a highly flammable gas and it will collect in a home and if it’s not properly ventilated it can be triggered just by a spark of static electricity,” said Ashley Kilroy, Executive Director of Marijuana Policy for the city of Denver, earlier this month.
City leaders say they still hope to pass an ordinance that will have enough teeth to stop the hash cooking that causes the explosions. A new version of the law will be heard next month.
If it eventually passes without changes to the wording of how the penalties will work, violaters of the ordinance could be fined $1,000 and face a year in jail.