Cannabis is already a cash cow for Los Angeles and the rest of California, but come January 1 (when recreational cannabis becomes fully legal) the weed money floodgates are primed to burst wide. But before that happens some higher-ups at the Los Angeles City Council want to make a couple of changes to the city’s cannabis laws. These were proposed earlier this summer by City Council president Herb Wesson in an initiative which would formally legalize cannabis retail, cultivation and edible manufacturing in the city.
But one other thing it would do is prohibit “volatile cannabis manufacturing.” As reported by LA Weekly, this ban likely stems from headline making amateur hash oil explosions and could hurt the city’s economy.
Fear of hash oil lab explosions is warranted. Explosions from mistakes in D.I.Y. butane labs have done untold amounts of damage to the health and property of Los Angeles residents over the last few years. But amateur BHO set-ups are already illegal.
Professional labs, the kind that are licensed and undergo safety inspections, which run ventilated closed-loop systems explode much less frequently than amateur ones. And, even if they do, compliant labs do not operate in the middle of an apartment building where they can injure neighbors and innocent bystanders.
“It’s perfectly safe when there’s a trained operator using high-quality materials,” Sparer says. “We’re talking to the City Council about what is safe use. If the City Council doesn’t allow this to happen in a highly regulated environment, the good players will go to outlying cities and the tax revenue will go with them. And it will still be sold in L.A. Those bad players left will continue to blow things up.”
Meanwhile, banning concentrate production would considerably thin out the city’s revenue stream from legal cannabis. Extracts make up anywhere between 30 and 60 percent of the cannabis market in California, according to LA Weekly.
Though banning “volatile” hash production wouldn’t remove all kinds of concentrate production (you could still make ice hash or rosin), doing so would put Los Angeles at an economic disadvantage, as Angelino pot shops would still no doubt be importing concentrates, probably from areas just outside of city limits.