on October 16th, 2016
(PE) At least five explosions at marijuana extraction “labs” have been reported in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in 2016, causing injuries as serious as third-degree burns. The labs have operated illegally – and often times dangerously – in homes, garages and other facilities throughout the state as the demand for the strong marijuana byproduct known as wax or honey oil has risen. In an effort to deter people from running the labs under dangerous conditions, and to provide a framework for legitimate marijuana manufacturers, a law was recently signed that allows the extraction process under certain conditions. “It kind of takes that industry out of people’s garages,” said Coachella City Manager David Garcia, whose office helped draft the bill. “It continues to make (unlicensed extraction) illegal but also (allows) a safe, licensed process to be in place.” AB 2679, which will go into effect in 2018, spells out strict protocols for operating an extraction lab and says patients, pot identification card-holders, caregivers, collectives and cooperatives will not face state criminal sanctions if they follow the new rules. The regulations include having a licensed engineer certify the system, ensuring the system doesn’t allow highly flammable solvents to escape and following local ordinances. Since ordinances in most of the Inland Empire that outlaw the sale of medical marijuana also outlaw the manufacturing of medical marijuana, licensed labs would be permitted only in Cathedral City, Coachella and Adelanto. Operating a lab without obtaining a license and following the new regulations would result in the same fines and punishments that were in place before the law was passed.