Category Archives: Extraction

Solvent extraction definition better but not fixed

Honey oil, hash oil and solvent extract are all legal for adults and qualified patients to possess in California. The state’s solvent extraction ban, Health and Safety Code 11379.6, was originally written to prevent methamphetamine production. It is the process that is banned, not the product or its consumption.

Health and Safety Code 11379.6, People v. Bergen 

The broad language of the law has plagued people who try to use safe extraction methods like closed loop solvent extraction, CO2 and even alcohol-evaporative concentrates. This is due to the definition in the law.

Legislation has improved this definition, fortunately, in Proposition 64 voter initiative and Senate Bill 94, and it now reads: 

11362.3. (b) (3) “Volatile solvent” means a solvent that is or produces a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures.

We expect that home extraction labs will fade away as commercial production and access become more available, but there will always be a few people who can’t learn from others’ mistakes. Be on the watch for more efforts to go after butane supplies

Here is a link to a list of solvent flash points and boiling temperatures

Marijuana should be removed from the controlled substances list 

The real problem is that keeping cannabis in the controlled substances list ties it to the extraction penalties for more toxic and dangerous processes. The real solution is to remove cannabis from the list and treat extraction as a commercial enterprise and set safety standards for home production. 

 

Brown vetoes bill to limit access to butane

The California legislature has passed a bill that will regulate and restrict access to the highly purified butane supply that is used to make BHO, butane hash oil or butane honey oil.


Update: Brown vetoes Butane Bill

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 1120, which would regulate butane as a controlled substance. Governor Brown’s full statement was as follows:

I empathize with the author’s intent to address the tragic explosions that can occur at illegal butane hash-oil production sites.  Unfortunately, I believe this bill takes a very expansive approach that may not ultimately solve the problem.  The Department of Public Health is currently working on regulations that will be finalized at the end of this year that move this type of production out of the shadows and into a safe and regulated environment.  I believe any additional legislation aimed at curbing illegal butane use should be more narrowly tailored, and not place a uniform limit on an industry that has many other legitimate uses.

This is good news for butane manufacturers, wholesalers, resellers and retailers, who will not be forced to acquire customer information, maintain substantial records or coordinate with the Department of Justice.


Assembly Bill AB 1120 would have allowed those with commercial extraction licenses to get butane for closed loop extraction and allow people to refuel their lighters and dab-torches. The text of the bill follows: 

Health and Safety Code 11107.2. (a) It is unlawful for a manufacturer, wholesaler, reseller, retailer, or other person or entity to sell to any one customer more than 600 milliliters of nonodorized butane in any 30-day period. …
(d) The limitations in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall not apply to any of the following transactions:
(1) Butane sold to manufacturers, wholesalers, resellers, or retailers solely for the purpose of resale.
(2) Butane sold to a person for use in a lawful commercial enterprise, including, but not limited to, a volatile solvent extraction activity licensed under Division 10 (commencing with Section 26000) of the Business and Professions Code or a medical cannabis collective or cooperative described in subdivision (b) of Section 11362.775 of this code, operating in compliance with all applicable state licensing requirements and local regulations governing that type of business.
(3) The sale of lighters, torch lighters or other appliances, or lighter refill canisters that contain or use nonodorized butane and contain less than 150 milliliters of nonodorized butane.

The registry was intended to prevent large scale sales of butane to the public and appears to be an effort to block home “BHO blasting,”  to make resin extract, which has a legacy of exploding garages and homes while driving consumption of the solvent-extracts.

California’s solvent extract ban, HSC 11369, was originally written to prevent methamphetamine production. However, the broad language of the law has plagued people who try to use safe extraction methods like closed loop solvent extraction, CO2 and even alcohol-evaporative concentrates. This is due to the definition in the law.

The legislature has recently improved this definition, fortunately, in Senate Bill 94.

11362.3. (b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(3) “Volatile solvent” means a solvent that is or produces a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures.

We expect that home extraction labs will fade away as commercial production and access become more available, but there will always be a few people who can’t learn from others’ mistakes. Be on the watch for more efforts to go after butane supplies. 

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.”   Continue reading Hash oil, BHO, chemical solvent extraction laws

Luna: Hash oil manufacturing case needs all components

People v Luna: “while the [chemical extraction] manufacturing process need not be complete, it must at least be started.”

“[W]hile the [solvent extraction] manufacturing process need not be complete, it must at least be started.” … “At the time appellant was arrested, he had no ability to begin manufacturing hashish, which expert opinion established is an instantaneous as opposed to an incremental process. In order to begin manufacturing hashish, appellant still had numerous steps to accomplish, including assembling the components of the manufacturing device… ”  Continue reading Luna: Hash oil manufacturing case needs all components

Medical marijuana collective and extraction defenses

SB 420 / Senate Bill 420 Cannabis collective defense;
AB266 / 243 Collective defense ends in 2019

SB 2679 Interim extraction licenses through 2019

Summary: In 2003 the California legislature (SB420) created a limited collective defense allowing patients to grow, furnish or sell medical marijuana to one another in HS 11362.775. In 2015, it amended the program (AB243), creating a legal licensing scheme and terminating that defense effective in 2019.

In 2008 the courts (People v Bergen) ruled that this defense does not apply to the use of chemical extraction in HS 11379. In 2016, the legislature (AB2679) amended to HS11362.775, adding a provision to allow local governments to license collectives to make chemical extracts.

Continue reading Medical marijuana collective and extraction defenses

BHO and chemical extraction of cannabinoids / concentrates

People v. Bergen: Medical use is not a defense against charge, use of chemical extraction to manufacture a controlled substance

Note: Because marijuana and extracts are in the controlled substance list, because the HS 11379.6(a) chemical extraction ban is a general intent offense and because the medical marijuana laws do not list a specific protection from the chemical extraction charge, there was no defense. In 2015 the legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act creating a dual state and local license for this activity.

“We conclude that when, as here, the method used to extract the marijuana resin was by means of a chemical such as butane, section 11379.6(a) applies over the more general statute punishing marijuana cultivation, harvesting or processing.” Continue reading BHO and chemical extraction of cannabinoids / concentrates

Interviewed as expert on cannabis extracts

Concentrated: A new era for cannabis extracts in California

Chris Conrad, a cannabis legal expert and author of “The Newbies Guide to Cannabis & The Industry,” said the type of extraction can also produce what is commonly known as an “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect.”

“There is a combination of 100 plus molecules in marijuana that have this medical effect depending on how they interact with each other and the human body,” he said. “That’s what a lot of people think is so great about cannabis.”

Continue reading Interviewed as expert on cannabis extracts