MANCHESTER, Tenn. – A potent hash oil derived from marijuana has made its way to middle Tennessee.
“They keep searching for ways to make it stronger and they are finding it,” said Mark Yother, Manchester Police Chief.
Yother said his detectives first confiscated the substance known as dabs or butane hash oil during the Bonnaroo Music Festival in June.
The drug — also known as “honey oil” or “earwax marijuana” — is not new. But many believe it is growing in popularity and that dabs appears to have slowly made its way east from California in recent years. Yother said it’s the first time his officers have seen this form of the drug in the mid-state. But now he’s worried it’s here to stay.
Dabs can be extracted from the marijuana plant using butane gas. The resulting sticky oil concentrates THC — the main mind-altering ingredient in marijuana. Regular marijuana can contain up to 25 percent THC. Dabs can contain up to 80 or 90 percent THC. Yother said his officers confiscated e-cigarettes that smokers use to inhale vapors from the drug.
Yother is concerned about the potency of the drug and the process by which it is made.
Manchester police are already dealing with the problem of methamphetamine labs in this rural part of Tennessee. The process of making meth can often lead to explosions. It’s important to note: Hash oil and meth are completely different drugs and no one is comparing the two. But the process of making dabs is not without risk.
FEMA has warned firefighters about the growing number of explosions from people trying to extract hash oil from marijuana plants using butane. Earlier this year, two men in Colorado suffered burns after blowing out the windows of their apartment trying to make dabs.
Yother said his officers have yet to bust a hash oil lab, but he believes it’s only a matter of time.
There are those who believe dabs or hash oil may have medicinal benefits for some patients. But that is not an option in Tennessee, where marijuana remains illegal.
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