In 2015, a hash oil extraction mishap sent Ryne Wilhelmi flying through the air. According to the Coloradoan man, a valve popped on his closed-loop system and then static electricity from his sweatshirt caught the leaking butane gas. That’s when his neighbors heard a loud explosion and saw the extractor rocket into the air. Amazingly, at the time, the Aspen Times reported that Wilhelmi suffered only first degree burns from the incident.
But it looks like that explosion is far from done with rocking Wilhelmi’s world. Almost two years after it bounced him from the Earth’s surface, it’s set to bounce him into prison. The extractor was confident at the time that his setup was within the boundaries of the law, telling local media that, “It’s legal as long as you’re running a closed-loop system.”
But local prosecutors did not share his view of the law. They charged him with a felony count of fourth-degree arson, a charge which Wilhelmi has plead guilty to and which could garner him up to six years in prison, as reported by The Denver Post.
The local District Attorney is taking a hard line against extractors. “Marijuana processing is a volatile activity that should only be done by licensed professionals,” D.A. Bruce Brown said in a statement. “The legalized hash oil ‘boom’ should not be allowed to take morph into actual explosions. I have determined because of the lethality of the activity that anyone guilty of this crime will have a serious felony on their record for life, as will this defendant.”
Brown apparently is forgetting that there are factors which affect the outcome of criminal proceedings other than his own “determination,” like for instance judges and juries. Just the same, things are looking bad for 26 year-old Wilhelmi, who admitted at the time of the explosion that he might have messed up. “This is a legitimate part failure,” he said. “I’m all about safety and keeping [stuff] safe when it does go wrong.”
A side note: a man named Ryne Wilhelmi (probably the same guy) posted a video of a GoPro attached to his dog Tucker as he ran around in the snow and it’s pretty cool.
Photo via Flickr user JoshBerglund19