San Andreas, CA — The Calaveras sheriff says drug lab remnants found at the second of two sites in San Andreas required help from a hazmat team to safely remove.
As reported here, deputies had been previously called to a site near Calaveras High School where nearly four dozen butane canisters used in processing marijuana into butane-extracted hash or “honey oil” (BHO) had been dumped.
Sheriff Rick DiBasilio says after receiving a tip Wednesday, connecting the canisters to an additional dump site in the 200 block of East Saint Charles Street, responding deputies discovered a significant mess that required county environment health staff intervention and the subsequent assistance of a hazardous waste cleanup company.
According to the incident report, nine 55-gallon drums of hazmat waste were hauled off containing nearly 1,000 cans of butane and the site was subsequently handled using the same protocol as as a meth lab cleanup. Sheriff DiBasilio recounts that it took nearly five hours to complete. A former hazmat professional, himself, he says the bill will be expensive, although he has not seen it yet.
Unfortunately, he confides, “I think [illegal dumping] is going to be something that we see a lot more of…just because people want to be able to downsize the amount of product that they have to transport — and this is maybe not an easy way to do it – but it is obviously easier to transport smaller amounts of pure THC, as opposed to…hundreds of pounds of marijuana.”
More Labs For ‘Dabs’?
For the uninitiated, he explains, “This is just one of the processes that [marijuana sellers] use to pull the THC out of marijuana to make it a concentrate. Instead of 100 pounds of pot, BHO becomes a couple of pounds of THC, used for ‘dabbing’…edibles, other uses.” (Chemically known as tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the psychoactive compound/mind-altering ingredient in cannabis.)
Obviously dangerous to produce, the process of “dabbing” BHO is not for the faint of heart when consumed via one popular method; using a small bong rigged with a titanium nail instead of a bowl that is then heated red-hot with a blowtorch.
The sheriff notes that while the county’s urgency ordinance regulating commercial cannabis cultivation remains in effect there is ostensibly a funding pot in place to help cover hazmat cleanups like BHO lab dumpings. However, he is uncertain as to where the monies might come from if the supervisors enact a proposed ban ordinance that is currently in the works, as reported here.