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article imageVancouver police shut down two illicit cannabis-oil labs

By Karen Graham     Jul 23, 2019 in World
Vancouver - Vancouver police, with the assistance of a hazmat team, shut down a multimillion-dollar illegal cannabis oil operation when they executed search warrants and dismantled two labs in an industrial area near Oak Street and Marine Drive.
The illegal market for cannabis-oil took a big hit this week when VPD officers from the Organized Crime Unit executed a pair of search warrants at the two warehouses.
The VPD said it was believed the two warehouses were being used as “butane honey oil labs.” The THC extraction labs were producing high-potency cannabis oils and concentrates for sale in unlicensed cannabis stores and on the black market.
At a press conference, VPD Const. Steve Addison described the facilities as “very large and sophisticated illegal operations. Although cannabis can now be legally purchased from government-regulated and approved retailers, we will not tolerate anyone who tries to cash in by breaking the law and putting the public at risk,” he said.
Butane honey oil lab cause of explosion in Santa Cruz  California in 2017.
Butane honey oil lab cause of explosion in Santa Cruz, California in 2017.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office
Thousands of pounds of drugs were seized, including oils, balms, edibles, "shatter" concentrate and "shake" residue, as well as lab equipment used to produce the drugs. The VPD said the investigation is ongoing and several charges are expected.
Canada's Cannabis Act prohibits the use of organic solvents, like butane, in the extraction of oils from cannabis plants because they’re extremely volatile and can lead to fire or explosions.
In June this year, Digital Journal reported on a butane-gas explosion in San Diego, California resulting from an illegal attempt to make "honey oil." The proliferation of these illegal operations are a growing problem in the United States and now, in Canada.
Hash oil in the form of shatter made by California based Guild Extracts.
Hash oil in the form of shatter made by California based Guild Extracts.
Guildextracts (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Illegal "honey oil" operations are so prolific in California that the legal market is not able to compete with the black market, which supplies users across the country through an illegal underground network. A “dab” of hash oil can contain up to 90 percent THC — more than four times the strength of typical marijuana buds.
It looks like Canada is also dealing with a proliferation of illegal honey oil operations, and not just in British Columbia. The RCMP arrested two people in St. Albert, Alberta last week for drug-related offenses after a search warrant uncovered 49 grams of “shatter” and over 100 grams of cannabis marijuana.
“To understand the difference between marijuana in a ‘joint’ and marijuana made into shatter, one needs to look at the concentration levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC,” RCMP said in a news release Thursday. Shatter, budder, wax, and honeycomb are often the strongest cannabis products, some with THC concentrations of 90 percent. Many are made from illegal butane hash oil (BHO) or honey oil operations.
More about Vancouver British Columbia, illegal cannabis oil operation, multimillion dollar, butane, THC extraction
 
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