(WEHT) — Butane honey, or hash, oil labs are not a big problem here — yet. But the product they produce has been here for a long time.
It is hazardous chemicals that make these labs dangerous for law enforcement, and the reason for the big response in a case that resulted in relatively minor charges.
But the products from these labs can also be an issue, and some of the biggest users are kids.
Marijuana is usually not a substance associated with explosives like meth labs once were.
“Now guess what you have. Flammable liquids, used in a new form of smoking weed,” says Kentucky State Trooper Corey King.
Those flammable liquids like butane require more muscle than a regular pot bust. The fire department is often called in to help.
“We have a device that will be able to sample, monitor that air […] In lieu of a body, we’re going to put that robot in there to do the assessment,” said Ken Zuber, Chief of Special Operations Planning for Evansville.
The fire department is on scene for warrants like these, for good reason. A fire that ripped through an apartment complex in Battle Creek, Michigan last year after investigators believe a butane oil lab blew up. Labs like those use butane to extract THC.
“What you’re left with is kind of an amber-colored sticky wax,” says King. “And that wax contains 9 times the amount of THC than a regular rolled Marijuana cigarette.”
There is also a new enhanced version of dab oil that is becoming more popular.
“Shatter. It’s a little more clear, it’s brittle. It breaks like glass.”
There are signs parents can look for, including stained finger tips and brown stains on paper.
There is also a culture surrounding in, often including the number “710.”
“Turn 710 upside-down, you have “oil,” said King.
There are also containers designed to hide a “stash.”
“It’s Pringles! But open the bottom, it’s a stash container.”
For now, labs like these are not a huge problem in the Tri-State.
But not long ago, law enforcement was dealing with a different kind of lab.
“Yeah, we did take a little breather there thinking hey … we’re getting away from the explosive side of it. […] Now we have some more flammable fuels used to make a different type of drug.”
It’s important to know that oils — edibles and butters are legal and used in many states for medical purposes.
(This story was originally published on July 19, 2019)