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California Governor Vetoes Hash Crime Legislation

California Governor Vetoes Hash Crime Legislation

It cannot be denied that California has seen an increase in explosions caused by the chemical extraction of cannabis, known as “hash blasting,” since the legalization of medical marijuana. While it is illegal to practice this process of extraction without proper equipment and licensing, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed bills creating new, stricter penalties and prison sentences for anyone who harms another person in the process.

The Governor admitted there are enough criminal laws in the Golden State and the state must consider all angles before increasing the problem of overcrowding.

Following a butane hash oil (BHO) extraction explosion in Walnut Creek, Assembly Bill 849 was presented to the state by East Bay Assembly member Susan Bonilla. AB 849 created a new crime with prison sentences of up to six years for any BHO makers who harm others during the extraction process. On August 31, this bill was passed unanimously by the Assembly.

Governor Brown disagreed with the approval, however, and vetoed AB 849 along with eight other bills, sending his own message about the regressive, “get tough” laws that do not increase public safety by adding more non violent offenders to the already overcrowded California prisons.

“Each of these bills creates a new crime — usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed. This multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit,”

said Governor Brown.

“Before we keep going down this road, I think we should pause and reflect on how our system of criminal justice could be made more human, more just and more cost-effective.”

With the United States leading the way in highest incarceration rates in human history, Brown reiterates that locking up cannabis extractors for misuse of equipment does nothing to address the legalities of practicing safety while producing cannabis extracts. Many California medical cannabis advocates have recommended stricter licensing and regulations regarding the process of cannabis extraction and three bills addressing such an issue are still pending on Brown’s desk.

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