A young man authorities say had $22,000 worth of marijuana wax is now in custody, awaiting possible drug charges.
The Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division, acting on a tip from the public, raided a home in Baxter, Minnesota, at 9 a.m. Monday as part of an ongoing drug investigation, a news release from the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office says.
At the home on Novotny Road they arrested a 20-year-old man and found about 1 pound of marijuana wax – which Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl estimated had a street value of more than $22,000, and is more than needed for personal use.
"This individual is in the business of selling narcotics," he said.
The team also found about $900. According to online jail records, the man could be charged with a few drug-related counts.
It's marijuana+butane (yes, lighter fluid)
Marijuana wax is the term officials use for this drug, which is a more-potent and concentrated version of marijuana. It's also called "butane hash oil," "honey oil," "shatter," "budder wax," "dabs" and "710."
It's made by running butane through raw marijuana, which pulls out the THC (the component that gets you high). It then turns into a waxy or honey-like substance, that gets smoked or ingested.
Marijuana wax has THC levels anywhere from 30 to 90 percent, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says. Regular pot has an average THC level of 14 percent.
Why it's dangerous
Officials worry for two reasons.
The manufacturing of marijuana wax, considering it requires an extremely flammable substance, is dangerous. People who make the drug have died or been injured in fires and explosions, and in 2015 one St. Cloud woman died in a fire after her grandson was reportedly trying to make the wax in the home.
The more potent levels of THC also worry officials, since it can cause extreme versions of regular marijuana effects – psychosis, increased blood pressure and heart rate, nausea, and impaired concentration and judgement.
The mother of a Duluth teen that had a high dosage said her son was hallucinating, hearing noises and was eventually rushed to the hospital when he was having trouble breathing, the Department of Public Safety said last year. The Hennepin County Medical Center also said at the time there were nine instances where patients were treated for marijuana wax symptoms in the past year.
More is getting seized
Authorities put out a public warning about the stuff last year, when just three months into 2016, the Northwest Metro Violent Crime Enforcement Team had already seized more than 12 pounds of marijuana wax.
By the end of 2016, all Violent Crime Enforcement Teams had seized 34.72 pounds of wax – up from 27.49 pounds the year before, and way up from 7.82 pounds seized in 2014.