I-Team: Concern Over Hash Oil Explosions Abounds as Pot Use Goes Mainstream - NBC New York
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I-Team: Concern Over Hash Oil Explosions Abounds as Pot Use Goes Mainstream

Last year, 65 people were injured in hash oil explosions, according to the DEA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An explosive made from highly concentrated forms of marijuana. A danger that could be right next door. Pei-Sze Cheng reports. (Published Thursday, July 7, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Hash oil, also called dab, shatter or butter, is a highly concentrated form of marijuana

    • Experts say it's 20 to 50 times more potent than pot

    • Last year, 65 people were injured in hash oil explosions, according to the DEA

    A hash oil explosion that blew out the walls and roof of a Brooklyn garage two years ago severely injured Gabriella Katanov, then 17, and killed her 19-year-old boyfriend, Anthony Gambale, -- and some fear such tragedies could become more common as marijuana use grows more mainstream. 

    The two teens were in the garage in Marine Park in December 2013 when the structure exploded. Investigators say they found a hidden drug lab inside the garage, including several containers of chemicals used to create hash oil. 

    Hash oil, also called dab, shatter or butter, is a highly concentrated form of marijuana. 

    "It’s usually between 20 and 50 times more potent,” said Jeff Reynolds from the Family and Children’s Associations. 

    But this potency can come at a price to both the user and the maker. 

    Last year there were 98 hash oil explosions nationwide that left 65 people, injured, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Four of those hurt were children. 

    Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes of the FDNY said hash oil is exceptionally dangerous. 

    "You're introducing a fossil fuel, which is very flammable, into a confined space," Byrnes said. "Basically you’re creating a bomb." 

    Critics fear hash oil-related accidents will increase as marijuana becomes more popular. 

    Dan Skye, editor-in-chief of High Times Magazine, a publication for marijuana users, believes legalization would eliminate the dangers of home labs. 

    "This should be done in a legal state sanctioned lab," said Skye. "In Colorado they already have these closed loop systems and the standards are very high."

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