SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The Senate Public Safety Committee today approved SB 212 authored by Calif. Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) on a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 6 to 0. The bill will address the proliferation of Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and methamphetamine manufacturing in residential neighborhoods by making it an aggravated felony to manufacture the drugs within close proximity to occupied structures. Butane Hash Oil is a highly potent form of marijuana which has grown in popularity the last several years and is known on the street by many different names including honey, erl, hash oil, honeycomb, honey, toast, and wax, among others.
“I am very pleased SB 212 was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee. It is imperative that we protect our neighborhoods and schools from those who choose to manufacture illegal drugs,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.
“Not only is BHO and methamphetamine manufacturing illegal, but they are extremely dangerous and highly volatile activities that can result in large explosions, causing extreme bodily injury, death and property damage,” said Senator Mendoza.
Illegal clandestine BHO and methamphetamine manufacturing pose significant risk to neighborhoods. The labs are extremely dangerous and the chemicals used in the manufacturing process create substantial risks of explosions, fires, chemical burns, and toxic fume inhalation from the off-gassing of chemicals which extend well beyond the walls of the lab itself, placing people and property in harm’s way. Butane Hash Oil labs, a new type of clandestine lab, are on the rise. Butane Hash Oil labs use butane, a highly explosive gas, to extract hash from marijuana.
Specifically, SB 212 strengthens California drug laws by allowing a judge to impose an additional prison sentence for individuals who are convicted of manufacturing BHO, also known as concentrated cannabis, within 300 feet of an occupied residence or structure or methamphetamine within 200 feet of an occupied residence or a structure.
Recently, there has been a spate of explosions throughout California as a result of BHO manufacturing, causing severe injuries, fatalities and severe damage. Last October, a multi-unit apartment building in Walnut Creek, Calif., went up in flames because of BHO manufacturing and an explosion of an apartment building near Sacramento displaced 140 people. The Sacramento Bee reported that Shriners Hospitals for Children in Northern California has treated 68 victims for BHO burns in the last three years. The average child was burned on 28 percent of the body.
“SB 212 strengthens the law and sends a strong message that if you choose to manufacture drugs in our neighborhoods and near schools, you will be severely punished,” added Mendoza.
In the past several years, federal and state law enforcement agencies have discovered more than 812 illicit drug labs on private and public property and in close proximity to schools throughout the state. Examples include:
In San Jose in May, 2014, the discovery of a crystal methamphetamine lab in a home in San Jose, near San Jose High School and a BHO lab at a Victorville daycare center.
In December, 2014, a drug lab was discovered at a Victorville daycare center capable of manufacturing BHO.
In Fresno County in January, 2015, a BHO lab was discovered in a home that shares a fence with a school. In addition, there were 28 firearms in the house.
In San Diego County, 17 butane honey oil labs were discovered in the first four months of last year. A third of those were discovered because they exploded.
In Yuba County, 10 labs were discovered last year. The year before that there was only one.
“The operation of drug labs in residential neighborhoods and near schools is unacceptable. We need to provide law enforcement and our criminal justice system all the appropriate tools to make our communities and neighborhoods safe,” added Mendoza.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from the threat posed by manufacturing illicit drugs,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.
“We need to ensure that our children are safe in the classroom and on the school playground from the threat posed by the manufacturing of illicit drugs,” said Senator Mendoza.
Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.