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Up in smoke: A hash oil production fire lands one man in jail, another in the hospital 

A small garage fire that broke out April 28 in San Luis Obispo has landed one man in county jail and another in the hospital—with criminal charges potentially pending since police suspect the two men were manufacturing a hot product known as “hash oil.” Also known as “honey oil,” the substance is derived from marijuana, and has become widely popular in recent years, largely to people left underwhelmed by the effects of smoking marijuana in its natural form.

Camden Knoll, 26, was arrested under suspicion of manufacturing drugs or narcotics, and Aaron McBurney, 31, was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The production of hash oil often involves the use of butane, a flammable liquid gas, to remove the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the marijuana plant. The process produces a thick liquid, which is then further refined as the butane gas evaporates. The final result is a goo that’s also referred to as “wax” or “dabs.”

The San Luis Obispo Police Department’s Capt. Chris Staley told New Times that investigators determined that the fire started when someone in the garage was using machinery to grind metal, which generated sparks and ignited the nearly completed hash oil, resting nearby in a glass pan.

Staley estimates that approximately three similar incidents have occurred in San Luis Obispo in the last year, with others happening countywide, highlighting the explosive side to a growing trend.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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