Talk about “breaking news”: We just heard of a shatter lab busted in North East England. Said to be the first of its kind in the post-industrial region, the raid conducted by the Northumbria Police was paramilitary-style. It all went down yesterday.
Local media showed a squad of cops in full body armor breaking down the door and smashing the windows of a local property with buzz-saws, battering rams and pick-axes.
The police made two arrests as a result of the raid.
It happened in a housing project in the town of Gateshead, located just across the River Tyne from the historic city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The police also seized an unspecified number of plants, as well as butane and other equipment.
Shatter is a glass-like concentrate of cannabis oil. Because it’s a relatively new innovation, it’s been getting a lot of hype. But not all of it is positive. Recently, the media, as well as law enforcement, have been reporting about the various dangers of shatter. The purported danger lies in both the production and consumption of shatter. And now the hype has finally hit the United Kingdom in no uncertain terms.
“We are aware that this ‘shatter’ form of cannabis is commonly produced in the U.S., but it is not very widely used at all in this country,” Inspector Cheryl Warcup told the UK’s ITV. “Not only is it illegal, but you have to use highly flammable butane gas to strip the chemicals from the plants and that puts you at huge risks. Last year, it was reported that two people died and more than two dozen were injured due to explosions linked to the production of the drug.”
Final Hit: Shatter Lab Busted in North East England
The shatter lab busted in North East England makes us recall the recent slew of media reports here in the United States about the explosions at hash oil labs. And indeed the dangers are very real.
There has been much debate and controversy about it within the international cannabis community. More and more, smokers and industry experts are becoming concerned about the growing popularity of dabbing and extracts. Whatever happened to smoking some good old-fashioned herb? But, as usual, prohibition and militarized police raids are hurting—not helping.
As Russ Belville pointed out in a piece on the question: “We must redouble our efforts to educate the public that just as profit-seeking bootleggers blew up the occasional still to make concentrated alcohol (whiskey) under Prohibition, so too will profit-seeking hash makers operate unsafely until the activity is regulated and prohibition profit margins reduced.”
Well said, Russ.
The prohibition of cannabis isn’t the only thing to blame for lab explosions. But it certainly is not helping the situation. If history is anything to go by, legalization, or at least decriminalization, is the way to fix the problem. For now, it looks like shatter is here to stay. If prohibition ended, there could be a legitimization of production labs. This would lead to industry standards and safety regulations. And isn’t safety what we’re going for here?