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Pot Shop Explosion Sparks $9M Lawsuit

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Hash oil is a popular, and legal in some states, marijuana derivative consumed to help users chill out. Turns out some of the processes for extracting hash oil aren't so cool. Higher Level Concentrates in Astoria, Oregon was using an "open" extraction system, whereby hash oil is extracted from the marijuana using an extraction tube and liquefied petroleum gas to extract THC from the cannabis plant material.

This is all well and good until "invisible LP gas vapors will escape and can quickly fill an enclosed area," and "an explosive mix of LP gas vapors and air formed, ignited, and caused an immediate and violent explosion and flash fire." That's what happened to Jacob Magley, who is now suing Higher Level and 12 other entities and individuals after he was injured in the explosion.

It Takes a Village to Raze a Cannabis Shop

Magley's 28-page complaint includes:

  • Premises liability claims against the property owners for fire code violations and a lack of gas-detection devices, ventilation systems, or even "Exit" signs;
  • Labor law claims against his employer(s) for not carrying workers' compensation insurance and maintaining unsafe working conditions and clothing; and
  • Products liability claims against the manufacturers and distributors of "Whip-its," the LP gas canisters used in the extraction process.

With so many interrelated parties, it may be difficult to partition blame in the accident itself, and the lack of proper preparation or response once things went sideways. But by bringing in so many defendants, Magley has certainly covered his bases.

Indica Injuries

If $9 million sounds like a lot of money to you, just listen to Magley's injuries:

Plaintiff was made to endure burns on over 22% percent of his body. He was admitted into Legacy Emanuel's burn center and remained there for nearly a month where he underwent painful burn and wound care. As a result of these injuries inflicted on Plaintiff, he is physically impaired such that he has been, and will be, unable to participate in many of the sports, hobbies, and other recreational activities and life pursuits he enjoyed prior to his injuries and is unable to carry out the duties and responsibilities of his trade as a carpenter and construction worker. He has permanent scarring and disfigurement on his face, both hands and wrists, and torso.

Magley claims he has already spent $375,000 in medical expenses and may ultimately lose $1.25 million in future wages. While cannabiz operations might be new, they're subject to the same old regulations as any other manufacturer, employer, and property owner.

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