The Ventura County Star recently reported on what authorities are referring to as a drug lab bust. Three men were arrested in what authorities are referring to as the biggest drug lab they’ve broken up in county history. Along with the arrests, officers confiscated about 209 pounds of cannabis and 26 pounds of cannabis concentrates in the form of honey oil.
This honey oil laboratory was set up in a converted house and was running in multiple phases of the operation at the time officers arrived. Detectives visited the house with the intention of serving a felony warrant to one of the occupants.
After all three men were put into Ventura County jail the Ventura County Fire Department and Environmental Health Agency were called on to the scene as a precaution. In fact, agencies and task forces on the federal, state, and local levels were brought in on the investigation. These agencies were brought in because of the massive amounts of unknown chemicals present in the building.
The original article posted photos of the crime scene and extraction set up. Though the setup was rudimentary they were running high-quality machines and in no way open blasting. Despite this fact, authorities on the case have referenced the dangers of explosion when working with these chemicals.
Over the last years, we’ve watched governing bodies with very little understanding of the cannabis plant try their hand at regulating its industry. With legalization comes a learning curve for law enforcement. Cannabis is still lumped in as a narcotics charge in traffic stops but this isn’t acceptable in recreational states.
This recent ‘drug bust’ highlights a lack of understanding between the cannabis extraction industry and local law enforcement that could foretell of a bigger issue further down the line. This speculation rings especially true in a large state like California that plans to open up recreational sales in 2018.