Is Making Hash Oil Among the Denver Drug Crimes?
Hash oil is an extract of marijuana leaves, essentially made to concentrate the THC component of the plant to create a more potent high. While the Attorney General of Colorado has declared that the production of hash oil is still illegal, there is a lot of confusion as to why -- both in the 'what law makes it illegal' and the 'what's dangerous enough about it that we want it to be illegal' sense. Here's your answer to both questions.
What Law Makes Hash Oil Production Illegal
Colorado Revised Statutes §18-18-406(6)(b)(I) and §18-1.3-401(1)(III),(V) make it a Class 5 Felony (1-3 years in jail and a $100,000 fine) to "distribute, manufacture, transfer, or possess with intent to distribute" any amount of concentrated marijuana of any kind.
You can walk around with one ounce or less of concentrated marijuana for your own use -- more than that, and it's a petty offense up to 2 ounces, then a misdemeanor up to 12 ounces, and a felony beyond that. But if you get caught making the stuff at all, you're looking at jail and probably all of your worldly wealth getting handed over to the government.
What is So Dangerous About Hash Oil That We Want It to be Illegal?
Ironically, the largest acknowledged danger in hash oil has nothing to do with its use -- it's the actual manufacturing process that is very dangerous and highly volatile. The most common way to make hash oil involves soaking marijuana in butane, then taking the butane and evaporating it…which means putting butane next to fire. As you can imagine, unless you're extremely competent and careful, the results can be injurious or lethal. As in, ka-boom. (Note that the cop's comment about how hash oil creation is perfectly legal isn't correct -- that was a decision made at the precinct level that has since been corrected at the State level.)
Hash oil-related explosions have increased in the last two years. They happen while the 'cook' is standing directly over the product, in the process of putting it into whatever container it's intended to cook in, the injuries from hash oil explosions tend to be dramatic, painful, and often crippling.
So in short, hash oil isn't illegal in small amounts if you're using -- but making it at all, unless you have a business license for that purpose and have the appropriate training and equipment -- is, and rightly should remain, one of the Denver drug crimes.