WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, July 10, 2017 @ 8:25 a.m.

Weed Feed: Stop Blowing Yourselves Up: There are Solvent-Free Dab Machines at Walmart

John Ross Ferrara on Twitter. https://twitter.com/JohnFerrara

It seems like every few months, some Humboldt County doofus accidentally blows himself up trying to make homemade butane hash oil.

I won’t go into detail here, but making BHOs can be very dangerous business. The process requires flammable gas to extract resin (purified THC) from pot buds, and since operating a hash lab isn’t something one generally does in broad daylight, lingering gas leaves these amateur chemists one spark away from blowing their roofs off.

Everyone wants to believe they’re Walter White, but Humboldt is full of Jesse PinkmansLoCO has plenty of stories on file to back that up.

And while the dangers of in-home explosions haven’t been enough to stop these lunatics from making BHOs, new technologies are becoming available to pot shoppers, technologies that may quell future disasters.

Firefighters treat a man injured in a hash lab fire in Eureka on Jan. 20, 2016. Photo by Andrew Goff.

Introducing the Pneumatic Rosin Heat Press Dab Machine, now available at Walmart.

Unlike BHO extractions, this consumer-grade machine uses heat and pressure to extract wax from cannabis flowers. Not only is this process non-explosive, it also makes a higher quality product that’s free of all those nasty butane chemicals you’d otherwise be smoking straight to your dome.

And according to Walmart’s website, the Rosineer RNR-PV1 heat press machine is more efficient than other makeshift press methods, like using a hair straightening iron … Grow up.

“For pressing plant extraction oil,” Walmart’s product description reads. “Different from arbor heat press, you don’t need to press continuously; Hydraulic press achieves higher pressure but it’s heavy to move; Hair straightener or flat iron is hard to get enough wax and waste your buds [sic].”

A somewhat crappy instructional video on how to operate the dab machine.

The press can readily be purchased online for a few hundred bucks, which may seem like a steep price to some, but if you factor in the costs of blowing up your home and injuring yourself or others, it’s a pretty fair investment.

Still prefer to take your chances? Check out this information from a public message put out by Humboldt Bay Fire last year, which states that hash lab fires are so dangerous, local firefighters now take a “defensive” strategy to extinguish them, basically opting to let the labs burn to avoid further injuries.

Many local fire agencies and community members have witnessed the appalling consequences of BHO-related explosions. 

Frequently these explosions and subsequent fires cause major structural damage including shattered windows, doors blown completely out of their jambs, load-bearing walls displaced from foundations, and roofs lifted off of supporting walls.

In many cases this extraction technique results in severe burn and blast injuries to BHO lab operators. In addition, innocent bystanders, including children, have been burned or otherwise seriously injured as BHO-related fires spread.

The aftermath of a hash lab explosion in Cutten in 2015. Photo by Eric Wright.

Ya hear that? Children. And it’s true. In 2013, a two-year old from Eureka suffered such severe hash lab burns it had to be airlifted to Sacramento. (Both parents were later arrested on felony child endangerment charges.)

Still don’t want to front the cash?

Consider the 2014 BHO blast that disfigured two teenage boys in Butte County, burning 40 to 60 percent of their bodies, according to the Sac Bee. 

Or the 2015 explosion that killed one Redding man and injured four others.

Or how about the 2016 BHO blaze that killed a New York Firefighter? 

Prefer to keep it local? One only has to look back one month ago to find Eureka’s last hash lab explosion, which sent three people to the hospital.

Windows blown out of a Eureka apartment building in 2016 due to a BHO explosion. Photo by Andrew Goff.

All this senseless death and destruction just to make homemade dabs. Is it really worth it?

By all means stoners, continue to get high. Hit those dabs. And if you absolutely have to, make your own hash oil.

But you’ve got to stop blowing shit up. And now that making responsible wax is as easy as shopping at Walmart, there’s no excuse.

The aftermath of a Manila hash lab fire in January. Photo by John Ferrara.


The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.

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