LA Warehouse Explosion Possibly Linked to Unlicensed Cannabis Concentrate Producer
An explosion has
Firefighters were initially called to
After the fire crew entered the premises at around 6:30pm local time, Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said “one significant explosion” shook the neighborhood, and the firefighters fled the building.
As of the latest update, eight firefighters remain hospitalized after being injured in the blast, with three more being released after spending Saturday night in hospital. A twelfth member of the fire crew was also treated and released for a minor injury.
Two of the firefighters still in hospital are thought to be in
, though Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters at a news conference on Saturday night that all of the injured are “going to make it.”
The perils of illicit cannabis production
Over 230 firefighters responded to the explosion and were able to douse the fire in an hour.
Captain Scott revealed that the building concerned in the blaze was a
The California Department of Public Health has no record of SmokeTokes holding a manufacturing license. Other Los Angeles officials described the SmokeTokes location as
“The tragic events of Saturday’s explosion are a direct consequence of cannabis prohibitionist policies combined with lax enforcement against illegal retail and manufacturing operators,” said Wesley Hein, a licensed cannabis company executive at Mammoth Distribution, to
Detectives from the LA Fire Department’s Arson and Counterterrorism section and the LA Police Department’s Major Crimes Division have launched
into what may have ignited the blast.
The dangers of butane hash oil extraction
Regulators are aware of the dangers posed by BHO extraction operations, which is why licensed extractors in California are required to follow
“Name one licensed manufacturer or a licensed wholesale supplier like AirGas where something like this happened. You can’t,” said Nate Bradley, a former police officer and the head of the Cannabis Consumer Policy Council, to
Adam Spiker, executive director of the cannabis industry group Southern California Coalition, told
“If they were doing volatile extraction with butane[...] they couldn’t be legal in the city of LA to do those types of activities,” Spiker said.
Even if a license had been issued, due to safety concerns these types of facilities would normally be restricted to industrial areas and kept away from urban centers.
“Something about this doesn’t pass the smell test,” Spiker added, saying that the information released so far “puts up a lot of alarm bells.”