ST. PAUL –The Stearns County Attorney’s Office today charged two men with third degree murder in connection with a marijuana wax manufacturing operation that resulted in an explosion and fire. The fire resulted in the death an 85-year-old St. Cloud woman.
Marijuana Wax Dangers
The emergence of marijuana wax manufacturing and abuse in Minnesota is a growing concern for public safety officials around the state, according to the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
Marijuana wax is a street name for marijuana concentrates. The Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels range between 30 – 90 percent in marijuana wax compared to 14 percent in typical marijuana.
The high levels of THC in marijuana wax can create a more intense physical and psychological effect in those who use it. The manufacturing of these products is extremely dangerous and has been known to cause explosions and fires across the country.
“ With the emergence of the use and manufacture of marijuana concentrates around the state, law enforcement is raising awareness about the dangers of this drug so we can prevent another tragedy, ” said Brian Marquart, OJP statewide gang and drug coordinator.
Increased Use in Minnesota
Violent Crime Enforcement Teams (VCETs) across the state are seeing an increased number of cases involving the use and manufacture of marijuana concentrates including marijuana wax.
Recent cases discovered by the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force in Mankato, East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force and a case involving the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force in Duluth are just examples of what the VCETs are seeing around the state.
Recently two teens overdosed in Duluth after using the potent drug. The mother of one of those teens says her son was hallucinating, hearing noises and eventually was rushed to the hospital when he was having trouble breathing.
“I was just scared not knowing if he was able to breathe, if he was going to die before they go there,” said the Duluth mother who wishes to remain anonymous. “I do think it’s a wake-up call and it would be really great if we could stop it before it gets too bad.”
- The high levels of THC in marijuana wax can create a more intense physical and psychological effect in those who use. Long term effects are not known.
- Butane is highly flammable and the manufacturing of marijuana concentrates has resulted in fires, explosions, death and injuries across the country.
- Marijuana wax does not produce an odor, so it is easier to hide and conceal.
About the Office of Justice Programs
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides leadership and resources to reduce crime, improve the functioning of the criminal justice system and assist crime victims. To accomplish this, OJP administers grants; provides training and technical assistance; provides research and data; works to protect crime victims’ rights; and provides reparations benefits to victims of violent crime.