FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Ryan Morimune, (916) 319-2014
April 28, 2015 [email protected]
Bonilla Bill Cracking Down on Hash Oil Producers Approved by Public Safety Committee
SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) introduced legislation this year to address the rise in hash oil lab explosions in her district and across the state. Assembly Bill 849, which ensures that defendants are held liable for damage caused when a drug lab explodes, regardless of whether the damage is caused by a resulting fire or the explosion itself, was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee this afternoon.
“Hash oil production is a lucrative business that is becoming increasingly popular statewide,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “It is not only harmful to producers and users, but the process of manufacturing hash oil is endangering whole communities, and the subsequent explosions are property owners’ worst nightmare.”
Hash oil is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extracted from the marijuana plant using butane or other chemical solvents. The process is extremely hazardous, with estimates from Contra Costa County averaging approximately two household hash oil lab explosions per month.
AB 849 ensures that hash oil lab explosions are prosecuted and offenders are punished for the full extent of the damage they perpetrate. Current law requires that fire damages a structure in order for a defendant to be prosecuted for a drug lab explosion. If a fire does not cause damage to property, then the charges are considered vandalism, which carries a much lower penalty. AB 849 addresses this loophole so that the punishment reflects the damage to property, as well as the heightened threat to public safety.
“AB 849 recognizes the serious public safety danger posed by offenders who recklessly manufacture hash oil,” said Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “These individuals put lives at risk and property in jeopardy every time they engage in this process. This bill ensures these offenders are punished commensurate with the injuries inflicted and damage caused.”
AB 849, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and supported by Firefighters, Sheriffs, and Police Officers statewide, will be heard next in Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.