AG disputes suspects claim that making hash oil is legal under Colo. law

Hash oil extraction

Hash oil extraction

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DENVER — Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers said Tuesday that home production of hash oil is not protected under Amendment 64 and cannot be used as a defense by a man accused of making the substance that resulted in an explosion.

Hash oil is the byproduct of extracting THC from marijuana plants with butane. The process can be dangerous and has resulted in more than 30 explosions in Colorado, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

The attorney general’s statement came as a response to a brief filed by Eugene Christenson in Grand Junction who is accused of making hash oil in his home.  An explosion happened, injuring Christenson, damaging his home, and potentially injuring others, the brief said.

Prosecutors have asked that Christenson be charged with processing or manufacturing marijuana or marijuana concentrate.

In his defense, Christenson’s lawyers argued that Amendment 64 allows for individuals to “process” marijuana.

In response, Suthers said the authors of Amendment 64 intended “responsible and safe use of marijuana.”

“The only logical way to read the meaning of ‘process’ is that it decriminalizes reasonable use that does not endanger the public,” the motion said.

In a statement, the AG’s office said, “Amendment 64 expressly prohibits an individual from making marijuana oil and unfortunately, Colorado is experiencing a real public safety issue as a result of unsafe and unlicensed manufacturing and production.”

In 2013 the legislature passed a bill forbidding unlicensed processing or manufacture of marijuana concentrate. However, the “process” language in Amendment 64, and the fact that individuals are allowed to grow limited amounts of marijuana at home, may be confusing to some.

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