You are here
Home > News > Death in a Cannabis Lab: Italian Prosecutors Investigate Explosion

Death in a Cannabis Lab: Italian Prosecutors Investigate Explosion

In Italy, Perugia’s Prosecutors are trying to determine how they will charge managers and owners in an industrial accident that left two people dead and two more seriously hurt. The incident occurred when a “laboratory,” which was set up to create “Cannabis Lite” from high THC cannabis, exploded.

Beyond the strange specifics, this kind of incident is certainly an anomaly in Europe—and not just because of the existence of cannabinoids in this process, but also what the manufacturers were trying to do to it. This is not to mention the how.

You would be correct if you think this sounds like Colorado in 2014! In the first summer of state legalization, the Denver Department of Environmental Health ordered a recall from a manufacturer who had made hash in their washing machine to be sold commercially and “legally.” Thankfully, nobody died, and the owners displayed an ignorance that what they were doing was against public health guidelines.

BHO extractions, beyond this unfortunate incident, are a rising threat in the U.S. States where recreational cannabis has been legalized. Inexperienced operators are using butane to make hash oil—and horrific accidents and explosions are on the rise.

It seems that this case is a bizarre copycat. What makes this even stranger is the supposed intent of the “manufacturer.”

Italy: Criminal liability and intent

The prosecutors will be trying to decide how they should charge the owners as well as the managers in this case. The minimum charges against them are gross negligence. They were accused of failing to warn or train their employees about the risks of what they did.

The possibility exists that they could face charges for manslaughter and murder.

This is the reason. Ultrasonic “washing machines” had been set up to bathe cannabis in pentane to lower the level of THC in the same and thus enable the company to sell the products as “Cannabis Lite.” Further, as described by prosecutors, the method had been both “invented” by one of the partners in the business and further was “devoid of any technical and scientific knowledge and used outside of any authorization.”

You can buy ultrasonic washers online. These machines can be used with water, or any other non-flammable solvent to clean jewellery, electronic devices, and medical instruments. You can use them to wash clothes, removing bacteria and preventing contamination.

It is not recommended that this process be used for cannabis intended for human consumption.

It is important to keep their tanks clear of any liquids that are flammable. They can vaporize and cause explosions or fires as well as releasing hazardous gasses into the workplace.

This solvent, pentane is commonly used for the manufacture of polystyrene. This solvent is extremely flammable.

For this reason, according to the prosecutor’s office, beyond the danger posed by the “innovation,” the processing was objectively dangerous.

Additionally, pentane wasn’t being kept in compliance with regulations and there was no machinery in the laboratory that would have mitigated the risk of using it for its processing.

The many odd circumstances

There are several bizarre aspects to this story—starting with this one: Who would take high THC cannabis and subject it to a chemical solvent and a “cleaning” machine clearly not designed for plants that will be ingested by humans? What about high THC marijuana? Is it really necessary when the supply is plentiful in the country.

Beyond these facts, it is clear that this was not an “invention” as much as an accident waiting to happen.

The tragic event in Italy serves as a cautionary tale to anyone else who may be attracted to similar innovations in the future. Despite this, multi-stage recreational reform is almost certain to increase the number of these criminals until cannabis flower production and extraction are completely legalized.