No, Cannabis Legalization Won’t Increase Fire or Explosion Risks

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It seems like every week, the mainstream media finds a new way to scare the public about the risks of cannabis legalization. Sometimes, the focus is on drugged driving, despite the fact that many so-called cannabis-related crashes involve a driver with more than one substance in their system. Other times, the news media warns about the dangers to children.

Currently, there seems to be increased mainstream interest in the fire hazards related to both cannabis growing operations and hash oil production. Anyone involved in cannabis knows that the massive lights used for grow rooms pose a fire hazard. They consume huge amounts of electricity and are usually suspended a short distance from plant matter, which is combustible.

The legalization of commercial growing has actually made it easier for cannabis growers to prevent fires. They can use better fire systems and security systems when they don’t have to worry about the potential legal repercussions of their grow operation if they need assistance. They can also locate these commercial grows in industrial sectors, instead of in residential neighborhoods, which are home to many illegal (and poorly wired) grow operations.

A similar argument can be made for hash oil production. Butane hash oil uses butane as a solvent. Other common forms of cannabis concentrate use different solvents that are also known to be explosive or flammable. Just because a solvent is flammable or explosive doesn’t mean the public is at greater risk for fires and explosions because of cannabis legalization. In fact, the opposite is likely true.

A fear-mongering report published by Politico points to at least 10 fires in the last five years related to legal cannabis production facilities. Ten fires spread across over 30 states and half a decade is far from a national emergency (although we apparently use that term for just about anything these days).

In fact, 10 fires or explosions is a pretty low number when you consider how many pounds of cannabis those facilities produce and process. Unregulated extraction sites, which are often located in basements or garages, are much more likely to catch fire or explode. People making concentrates in houses instead of commercial facilities do not have proper ventilation equipment. They may not have any safety protocol in place at all.

Commercial extraction facilities, while slightly dangerous due to their equipment, are infinitely safer for the public than unregulated home concentrate production. These facilities have the equipment necessary to make sure extraction safer and to dissipate the solvents used quickly.

Legalization may increase the demand for cannabis products. It may increase the number of facilities growing and extracting. However, it will not increase the danger associated with that process. The access to legal infrastructure can only make the production of cannabis and cannabis concentrates safer for the public.

For previousLadybud articles about legalization, click here.