An extraction lab in Astoria, Oregon exploded last Wednesday night, sending two employees to the local burn ward and posing new questions about concentrate regulations in the state. Though there has been no official ruling as to the cause of the explosion so far, investigating authorities from Oregon OSHA said that butane was a likely culprit, according to Oregon Live.
The incident, the first reported explosion at a legal cannabis processing facility in the state, may cause turmoil for other area extractors. Regulations are already unclear and somewhat constrictive to blasters.
Dabs Magazine reported last week that strict testing mandates have slowed down the sale and production of legal concentrates in the state, with many companies worrying they may soon have to lay off employees or even close their doors. One company, Lunchbox Alchemy, was forced to put 60,000 edibles in warehouse storage while it waited to get through Oregon’s testing bottleneck. The explosion last Wednesday isn’t likely to make lawmakers go any easier on concentrate producers.
Wednesday’s blast occurred at Higher Level Concentrates and damaged part of the company’s sister dispensary Sweet Relief. According to officials, the explosion started in the basement extraction lab. Dispensary owner Gary Reynolds told Oregon Live that two of his employees felt the building rumble that evening. “One of the guys came from down below and told everyone to get out,” Reynolds said. “He was burned up pretty good.”
The dispensary employees got out of the building as did three workers at Higher Level, while two others were taken to the Portland burn center. The severity of their injuries are unknown, but authorities reported that both blast victims were in stable condition.
Higher Level is one of 127 facilities licensed to manufacture medical marijuana concentrates in the state. Not one facility is currently fully licensed to make and distribute recreational concentrates. Extractors in a limbo between markets right now, being semi-legal if they complete interim registration that doesn’t make them completely legal, but which shields them from criminal prosecution until they are fully legal. So far, state officials say no extraction company has completed its registration process.
Photo via Flickr user Dan Zen