• Breathe Free Oregon

Hash oil extraction causes explosions and other public safety risks

This is a safety guide for first responders addressing the dangers of hash oil extraction. Developed by Sgt. Pat Long, Thornton Police Department.


Primary hazards noted:


  • “Butane is odorless, colorless, and heavier than air.”

  • “It will seep into low lying areas. If the fire starts on an upper floor, crews need to be aware of possible gas on lower floors.”

  • “Butane canisters are pressurized and compressed highly flammable gas.”

  • “This means it is literally a hand sized fire grenade capable of severe injury and death.”

  • “Most scenes have ‘hundreds’ of cans!”


Numerous secondary hazards are also noted, including improvised electrical systems, related criminal activity, toxic smoke from fire containing THC (potentially lethal doses), carcinogens, etc.


“Some explosions in residences and hotels around the country are being traced back to a process using butane to extract and concentrate compounds from marijuana. The extraction method appears to be more common on the west coast; reported fires and explosions have blown out windows, walls and caused numerous burn injuries.”


“Butane is necessary for the process and is available over-the-counter in 8-ounce cans. The extraction process uses one whole can and multiple cans will likely be at the scene. Butane is highly explosive, colorless, odorless and heavier than air and therefore can travel along the floor until it encounters an ignition source.”


“Initial explosions can lead to secondary explosions and fires. In states with legalized use and availability of medical marijuana, these incidents appear to be increasing. In some of these states the legality of the actual production process is still in debate.”


The above three paragraphs are noted as sourced from the Seattle Times.


Some has oil extraction processes use CO2 instead of butane.


The remainder of the guide discusses hash oil production, THC levels, consumption, resale value, history, etc. in greater detail, complete with pictures. It also includes news coverage of the danger of production and excerpts from reports from first responders responding to hash oil explosion fires.


Examples of injuries are pictured.


Download Safety Guide PDF