When a case involving cannabis concentrates first landed on the desk of Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie, feeling somewhat perplexed and unfamiliar with the term, he had to fire up the computer and use Google to assist in the initial stages of the investigation.
Seems Sheriff Leslie is not alone. Many states, mostly in middle America, are just learning about marijuana concentrates, often referred to as wax, shatter, and oil.
"I had never heard of it," Sheriff Leslie said.
Since then, the sheriff and his team have been doing their homework. Last week, state law enforcement officials came together to warn the public and other law enforcement agencies about what they’re calling a "dangerous new drug trend."
Minnesota authorities have put concentrates in their sights because of two recent incidents. The first is a hose fire that killed an 85-year-old woman that has been tied to marijuana concentrate production. Police also point to an incident where a pair of Duluth teenagers allegedly overdosed on marijuana wax. The Minnesota Poison Center said they have received eight calls since 2013 related to cannabis concentrate usage.
Marijuana advocates are already firing back. Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policy for national organization The Marijuana Policy Project, insisted that a lethal THC dosage is not possible.
"Is it true that there are people who consume concentrates when they don't know what they're doing and have bad experiences? Absolutely," he said. "But those bad experiences don't lead to them pushing daisies."
It goes without saying that marijuana concentrates induce a much more intense high. These concentrates can reach upwards of 90% THC now. To put this in context this is about four to five times stronger than a good flower. Common sense should lead one to use this stuff in moderation. As the popularity of concentrates grows, so will the tales of caution. After all, this is not your daddy's wax.