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San Miguel County Sheriff Asks Board To Ban Butane Hash Oil Production

hash oil
Andres Rodriguez via Flickr

San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters has asked the County Board of Commissioners to ban butane hash oil production.

KVNF’s Laura Palmisano spoke with the sheriff about his request. 

Interview Transcript

PALMISANO: Sheriff Masters explain to me why you are going to be asking the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners to ban hash oil production using butane in San Miguel County.

MASTERS:  The butane extraction process is one that involves an accelerant, butane, which is a gas that's heavier than air. And therefore in certain locations it pools towards the bottom of a particular residence or condo project, or etc where it could gather or it has repeatedly gathered and then there's a spark and it sets it off. And it explodes.  
PALMISANO: What has prompted you to make this decision to ask for the ban?
MASTERS: We have not had an explosion here yet but we've seen a number of them in Colorado and throughout the United States. We ran into one operation. They had a case. I think there was 140 butane bottles in the case there was 36 left. They were manufacturing it inside of a rented residence in a neighborhood. We thought that considering the commercial level of what they were doing to be a danger to the entire neighborhood. After that we thought we should just ask the commissioners to pass this resolution. That [power] is apparently granted to them this year by the legislature that local governments can ban the manufacturing of hash oil using certain methods.  

PALMISANO: Do you know if the board has that resolution on their agenda yet?

MASTERS: No. They don't. The county attorney is still looking into the legality of it all and trying to determine if we do in fact the authority to do that and determining if it actually violates any of the provisions of Amendment 64.

PALMISANO: Where did officers find the site where butane was being used to create hash oil in San Miguel County?

MASTERS: A couple of weeks ago, it was in a location outside of Telluride in a small community near Ames.

PALMISANO: What is your concern about having people producing hash oil using butane?

MASTERS: It's a dangerous process. I think it's one that's not necessary to do it with. It's being used because it's easy. People that are often doing it are stoned and forgetful and don't understand the dangers involved in it. They're injuring themselves, causing explosions and putting the lives of emergency responders and firemen at risk and the neighborhood [at risk].

PALMISANO: What kind of marijuana production is legal in San Miguel County?

MASTERS: Exactly like the rest of the state we are governed by both the Medical Marijuana Amendment and Amendment 64. In addition to that at different locations the county has zoned certain areas for marijuana production and has licensed four different establishments for manufacturing of marijuana concentrates and infused products and grow operations. In the town of Telluride we have I believe four now marijuana retail outlets. In addition to that of course people have the [state] constitutional right to grow a certain number of plants, six for every adult. That's three in the immature stage and three mature plant and possess [one ounce] of marijuana. They can also of course if they are a medical marijuana patient have the proper amount that their doctor deems necessary through prescription.

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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