Washington state regulators are getting tough with new marijuana laws set to take effect Friday.
Among them is a lesser-known restriction that outlaws the use of the highly explosive butane gas to manufacture butane hash oil or BHO.
The law prevents any medical marijuana processor from using the gas. But an I-502 licensed recreational processor can use butane because the facility is in a highly-controlled and state-certified environment.
Hash oil explosions have become more common with inexperienced manufacturers improperly using butane to extract the ultra-high potency oil derived from marijuana.
Some industry leaders worry the new law could push more production underground, causing more explosions.
“People are putting bombs in their garages. You have to know what you’re doing,” said Scott McKinley, owner of Caviar Gold in Arlington. McKinley was a BHO processor for the medical marijuana industry until now. He now has a 502 licensed facility to produce BHO using butane. He says it’s good that the state is making the industry safer but fears the new law will give rise to the black market.
“You can guarantee (police) will be in the stores tracking where the BHO came from,” he said.
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board says there are other ways medical marijuana processors can make BHO involving other gases.
Among the other marijuana regulations to take effect Friday:
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are added as qualifying conditions.
A qualifying condition must be severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function, which can be objectively assessed and evaluated.
All new authorizations must be written on a form developed by the department and printed on tamper-resistant paper.
Patient examinations and re-examinations must be performed in person at the healthcare practitioner’s permanent business location.
Healthcare practitioners who write more than 30 authorizations per month must report the number to the department.
Healthcare practitioners cannot have a practice that consists primarily of authorizing the medical use of marijuana.
No more than 15 plants may be grown in a single housing unit even if multiple patients or designated providers reside there.