WOLFEBORO — Police here have made a second arrest in as many weeks for possession of a highly concentrated form of marijuana called butane honey oil, or BHO.
Police were checking the area around Albee Beach when they noticed several young men exit a car that had just arrived. The men went into a wooded area and the officer noticed the smell of marijuana coming from their direction.
The young men were from Connecticut. Police spoke to them and two of them had marijuana and alcohol in their possession. One man was 20-years old and the other was a minor. Both were arrested.
The driver of the car (the minor) was charged with one count of transportation of drugs in a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of alcohol, unlawful transportation of alcohol and possession of marijuana.
The other man was charged with possession of marijuana and transportation of drugs in a motor vehicle.
Police found a number of marijuana pipes filled with a mixture of BHO and marijuana, a Tupperware container partially filled with marijuana, and a glass bong containing more BHO. A lip balm container with BHO or "dab" was also found on the minor.
BHO is a highly concentrated form of marijuana that can be 20 times the potency. Made from butane and marijuana the final product resembles that of melted peanut brittle. It is usually smoked in a pipe.
Police also found a cardboard liquor box containing various kinds of hard alcohol.
Capt. Dean Rondeau said that BHO represents a new danger in central New Hampshire.
"With an ever increasing supply of marijuana, drug users, not satisfied with the effects of marijuana, are seeking new ways to increase its potency and impact," said Rondeau.
Rondeau also said that in the few instances police have found BHO, they have also found alcohol. He said the combination of the two can be very dangerous and re-expressed his fear of impaired driving.
"When we arrested those young people we think we may have prevented a terrible DWI accident," he said, noting that they had a case full of alcohol and an empty case of alcohol and had apparently been driving around, stopping only to get high.
He explained that his research has shown that over the past 40 years, marijuana has become about 40 times more potent than it was in the 1960s. Condensing marijuana into BHO increases the potency another 20 percent, making it increasingly dangerous he said.
He said in January a 15-year-old boy smoked one hit of BHO in Wolfeboro and passed out. His friends panicked and left him in the snowbank where he almost died of exposure.
Another concern of Rondeau's is the process of making it is very dangerous. He said butane is a vapor at room temperature and is heavier than air, causing it to fog along the lowest point in a room. It is also very volatile and explosive and the slightest spark can trigger an explosion.
"This is not just marijuana and it's not just kids being kids," Rondeau said, noting some parents are inclined to minimize the importance of using highly potent marijuana and BHO.