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So many hash labs are blowing up around these parts that Humboldt Bay Fire, which services the greater Eureka area, recently declared it won't go into the burning aftermath of the explosions.

The new policy comes on the heels of several hash lab fires in the area, the most recent of which (on Jan. 20) sent a resident to the University of California Davis burn center and left "obvious signs that the explosion moved the roof off the walls," according to a press release.

In a Feb. 4 press release, the department detailed the "appalling consequences" of hash lab explosions that include massive property damage and severe burn and blast injuries, including on children.

"Firefighters who have responded to these types of incidents report high-intensity fires which are difficult to extinguish," the release says. Because the blasts displace load-bearing walls, foundations and roofs, and because of the risk of secondary explosions with butane tanks and other flammable detritus, the department will no longer send firefighters inside to fight fires suspected to have started because of hash labs.

The department will continue to search the buildings for occupants, the release says, but will only spray water from the outside through open doors and windows. In addition, the release states, "If a [butane hash oil] lab explosion occurs in apartments or other multi-family dwellings we will focus our efforts on protecting other attached living units and detached surrounding properties."

The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (the BoMM or the BuMMR, depending on whom you ask) has a new chief.

Lori Ajax, the deputy director of the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to head the newly formed agency that will develop and enforce vast medical marijuana reforms enacted late last year.

Ajax, who, according to the Sacramento Bee, has worked for ABC for 20 years, will work with a variety of state agencies to create rules on the medical marijuana industry in the framework of the new state laws, which separate aspects of the business and regulate everything from packaging to cultivation. At one point, Ajax managed licensing and enforcement for the alcohol agency in Northern California.

Advocates for medical marijuana expressed concerns as the new regulations were being written, warning that treating marijuana like alcohol would be unfair. But California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen was quoted in the Bee praising Ajax's appointment.

"We are encouraged by Lori's experience with state bureaucracy and familiarity with rural counties," he told the paper.

"Pain is a part of athletics," says Jay Williams, a promising young Chicago Bulls player who nearly died in a 2003 motorcycle accident at age 21. It ended his career and set him on a path toward painkiller addiction — a quagmire he now says he was able to escape thanks to marijuana, which provided pain relief without the addictive or harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals.

In a recent essay and Players' POV video, Williams called out the NBA for its double standard: Players who use marijuana face suspension and fines, while they're treated for all kinds of gameplay-related pain with opiates and other painkillers. Joining others who've pointed out similarly misbalanced policies in the NFL and other sports leagues, Williams says players are expected to play through all kinds of pain, and marijuana provides relatively low-impact relief. The discrepancy — he says marijuana is "vilified and misunderstood" — is particularly stark given the recent relaxation of marijuana laws in states like Colorado and Oregon, which are home to professional basketball teams.

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About The Author

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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