Packages of shatter marijuana concentrate made using 'BHO' butane hash oil extraction. (Joe Amon, Denver Post file)

Aurora weighs ban on all types of home hash oil production

AURORA — City leaders are working on an ordinance to ban all types of private hash oil production — whether the chemicals used in the process are flammable or not — while legitimate licensed manufacturers will still be permitted in the city.

The proposal comes after the city has had six explosions or fires since October 2013 linked to the manufacture of hash oil at private residences.

Three people were sent to area hospitals, and several apartments were damaged in the incidents.

Courts are also having a difficult time determining what is prosecutable and what is not after voters passed Amendment 64, which allows for the use and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

Hash oil is a form of marijuana, a resinous material obtained from the plant by solvent extrication.

The oil can be extracted using butane, or alcohol (such as rubbing alcohol or Everclear) and even water or ice.

At a recent Public Safety Committee meeting in Aurora, Fire Department Capt. Siegfried Klein laid out a proposed ordinance that would ban hash oil production.

People are still allowed to purchase and use it, as permitted under state law. The dangers of producing “honey oil,” as hash oil is sometimes called, led the city to develop the new ordinance, which will go before the full City Council at an upcoming meeting.

Aurora’s proposed municipal ordinance would give the city another layer of enforcement over the manufacturing of hash oil.

“We wanted to have an ordinance in place, so that people know despite what happens at the state level, the city believes it is a danger to public safety,” Klein said.

After discussing the issue further, the Public Safety Committee decided to tweak the measure to ban all forms of hash oil manufacturing, including “bubble hash” that is made with water.

“I don’t think we should be doing it with alcohol or anything,” said Aurora City Councilwoman Barb Cleland, who is a member of the Public Safety Committee.

Denver was one of the first cities to ban private hash oil manufacturing with flammable components such as butane or other gases.

People are allowed under the Denver rules to make hash oil at home using water or food-based methods, but must get a permit before performing alcohol- or ethanol-based extractions using heat produced by fuel or electricity.

If the measure passes in Aurora, violators of the hash oil ordinance could face up to a year in jail and a $2,650 fine, said Aurora assistant city attorney Julie Heckman.

Carlos Illescas: 303-954-1175, or

Updated March 11 at 2:53 p.m. Information was added to clarify Denver’s rules on hash oil, which include an exemption for alcohol- and ethanol-based extractions with a permit from the Denver Fire Department.

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