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Published on January 14th, 2015 | by Daniel R. Perlman

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Illegal Production of Marijuana Extracts

With medical marijuana and the highly popular edibles becoming readily available throughout California, it might seem a logical assumption that the other more exotic forms of cannabis being offered also have the cover of legality. There is, however, an increasingly common type of marijuana extract illegally produced with the use of solvents whose manufacture is a felony in California. These extracts show up in legal dispensaries that may misrepresent how some of the extracts they sell are made.

These solvent extracts exist in a variety of forms, and are given colorful, fanciful names like honey, erl, hash oil, honeycomb, honey toast, wax, shatter, glass, whip, comb, and ‘tane. A waxy concentrated cannabis extract is made by pushing liquid butane through a tube packed with marijuana buds and then treating the extract by washing with alcohol, whipping, and other methods or steps to remove the butane smell, remove the plant waxes, and create the various forms.

The final products are typically smoked by the methods well known within the drug culture. There is a problem, however, with the production of these marijuana extracts, that makes it illegal in California to make, sell, or even possess such solvent extracts.

This problem has it’s roots in California Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6(a) which states: “Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance – shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years and by a fine up to $50,000.”

The key phrase in this statute is “by chemical extraction.” The butane employed in the extraction process is not only a chemical, but a highly flammable one at that. In the underground rush to produce extracts, houses and apartments are being ignited, motels are blowing up, lab operators are severely burnt or killed in the clandestine effort to produce the highly profitable extracts.

Possession of concentrated cannabis products produced with chemical solvents can be a felony offense and can bring jail time if you are found guilty of the charges. Under California marijuana law, people who are entitled to use medical marijuana may legally possess concentrated cannabis for their personal use. They may also produce it, as long as they do so without the use of chemical solvents, such as butane.

Daniel R. Perlman, Esq.

Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman

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