SANTA FE – Two men were burned and seriously injured in an explosion Thursday afternoon at a medical marijuana business just off San Mateo Road west of Pacheco Street.
NewMexiCann Natural Medicine, one of the state’s licensed medical pot producers, operates at the location at 1592 San Mateo Lane, a side street. No one from the company could be reached for comment Thursday night.
Santa Fe Fire Department Battalion Chief Carl Crook said the two employees were using butane to extract THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component in marijuana, when the explosion took place about 4:40 p.m. The burned workers were transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and then flown to the burn center at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, Crook said.
The explosion took place shortly before the business’ 5 p.m. closing time. Crook said it was unknown if any customers were around.
The fire department had no details about exactly what process was taking place when the explosion occurred. But butane and solvents are used to make an increasingly popular substance from pot known as hash oil.
Butane is strained through the marijuana or hemp, which extracts the cannibinoids.
The product is complete when the butane is purged through evaporation, which can involve boiling, leaving a waxy or honey-like hash of concentrated and potent THC, according to online pot sites. Some sites warn that the butane hash oil process can be dangerous because of the fire hazard from butane.
NewMexiCann’s website advertises a hash oil that is extracted with ethanol.
A recent Buzzfeed article said California dispensaries say butane hash oil now accounts for 40 percent of sales and that home lab explosions are on the rise.