After a butane hash manufacturing accident killed one extractor and caused another to suffer burns on over half his body, the injured extractor is suing the mini-mart that supplied his butane for $11 million in damages.
A lawsuit from Kevin Tveisme of Gresham, Oregon alleges that a local Shell store is to blame because the 6-pack of butane they sold included “virtually no warnings and were not accompanied by any instructions.”
The explosion occurred exactly two years ago on May 27, 2013 when, according to the lawsuit, Tveisme’s home heater system ignited his butane gas-filled garage. Tveisme suffered burns on over half his body, most of them third degree. Doctors induced coma for six months, performed 11 surgeries, and amputated his right index finger as a result. His medical bills totaled more than $1 million.
Tveisme’s friend Joseph Westom suffered burns on over 90 percent of his body and died 18 days after the explosion. No wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by his family.
Tveisme is an Oregon medical marijuana license-holder, which means he was legally permitted to manufacture butane hash oil.
The lawsuit also names the makers of Power 5x Butane as culpable in the law explosion. The former extractor’s attorney Jonah Flynn said of the butane manufacturer in an Oregon Live article, “I appreciate that they put on there, ‘Don’t overfill your lighter,’ but one of those cans is enough to fill up your lighter for five years.”
Flynn claims that though Power 5x isn’t explicitly marketed as an extraction solvent, its producers, which distribute it online and in head shops in addition to convenience stores, know who they’re selling to. “It’s a wink and a nod… They know and everybody else knows that this product is used for the manufacture of butane hash oil. It’s not a secret.”
Tveisme’s claim that he had no idea butane extraction was dangerous prior to attempting it is somewhat questionable. But a wider availability of safety cautions and instructions on extraction materials couldn’t be a bad thing, and might even save a couple lives. The problem is that first these companies will have to admit that this is a primary use of their product. And that might not happen anytime soon. The full lawsuit can be read here.
All photos via Oregon Live