Hash oil, BHO, chemical solvent extraction laws

Solvent extracts and concentrates are covered by a number of California laws and case law.

Propositions 215 and 64 both included extracts but did not remove cannabis from the controlled substances list.  The Health and Safety Code 11379.6 “Meth House” statute, below, includes cannabis because it is on the list of substances in HS 11054, but since 2015 HS 11379.6(d) specifically mentions cannabis extraction. For many years that has meant BHO was legal to possess but not to make. The People v Bergen decision held that it is the process, not the product, that is banned. People v Luna established the prosecutor’s burden of proof. When the legislature passed MCRSA, the medical marijuana regulations, it included a license to make volatile extracts. The following year, a provision was added to HS 11362.775 for an interim local license before the MCRSA licenses issue. Prop. 64 mirrors that licensing process for nonmedical use and modified the legal issues on extraction by including in HS 11362.3(a)(6) the term “volatile” rather than simply “chemical extraction.”  

Health and Safety Code 11379.6.  

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who manufactures, compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance specified in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, five, or seven years and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(b) Except when an enhancement pursuant to Section 11379.7 is pled and proved, the fact that a person under 16 years of age resided in a structure in which a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred shall be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court.

(c) Except when an enhancement pursuant to Section 11379.7 is pled and proved, the fact that a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred within 200 feet of an occupied residence or any structure where another person was present at the time the offense was committed may be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court.

(d) The fact that a violation of this section involving the use of a volatile solvent to chemically extract concentrated cannabis occurred within 300 feet of an occupied residence or any structure where another person was present at the time the offense was committed may be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court.

(e) Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who offers to perform an act which is punishable under subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, four, or five years.

(f) All fines collected pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be transferred to the State Treasury for deposit in the Clandestine Drug Lab Clean-up Account, as established by Section 5 of Chapter 1295 of the Statutes of 1987. The transmission to the State Treasury shall be carried out in the same manner as fines collected for the state by the county.

Health and Safety Code 11362.2

(d) For purposes of this section, “volatile solvent” means volatile organic compounds, including: (1) explosive gases, such as Butane, Propane, Xylene, Styrene, Gasoline, Kerosene, O2 or H2; and (2) dangerous poisons, toxins, or carcinogens, such as Methanol, Iso-propyl Alcohol, Methylene Chloride, Acetone, Benzene, Toluene, and Trichloro-ethylene.

Health and Safety Code 11362.3.

(a) Nothing in Section 11362.1 shall be construed to permit any person to:

(6) Manufacture concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent, unless done in accordance with a license under Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 or Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code.

Business and Professions Code 26100.

The Department of Public Health shall promulgate regulations governing the licensing of marijuana manufacturers and testing laboratories. Licenses to be issued are as follows:

(a) “Manufacturing Level 1, “for sites that manufacture marijuana products using nonvolatile solvents, or no solvents.

(b) “Manufacturing Level 2, “for sites that manufacture marijuana products using volatile solvents.

(c) “Testing, “for testing of marijuana and marijuana products. Testing licensees shall have their facilities or devices licensed according to regulations set forth by the Department. A testing licensee shall not hold a license in another license category of this division and shall not own or have ownership interest in a non-testing facility licensed pursuant to this division.

(d) For purposes of this section, “volatile solvents” shall have the same meaning as in subdivision (d) of Section 11362.2 of the Health and Safety Code unless otherwise provided by law or regulation.

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