Law enforcement is concerned about a new form of marijuana making its way onto the scene – marijuana “wax,” which they say is “highly potent” and “highly dangerous.” It looks like lip balm, but it’s certainly not. It’s an illegal substance in New Jersey. And depending on what other drugs or substances are added to it during the manufacturing process, there can be enhanced penalties if you are caught in possession of it.
Marijuana wax, also known as “honey budder,” “ear wax,” “BHO” (butane honey oil) in its gooey form, and “shatter” in its more refined and brittle form, is made from marijuana by soaking it in butane. The resulting oil-like substance can be up to 90 percent THC, which is the intoxicating substance contained in marijuana. It can be smoked in an e-cigarette or vapor pen or another device by which a dab of BHO is applied to a super-heated surface to produce a cloud of smoke. Getting high this way is known as “dabbing.”
The 20th arrest for possession of marijuana wax was made in Hunterdon County on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, according to John Kuczynski, Chief of Detectives in the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office. There are widespread concerns about the safety of using this product, since its full effects can’t be predicted. In the manufacture of illegal drugs, unknown chemicals or other drugs can be added and there is no quality control. As a result, use of this marijuana wax could potentially lead to serious injury or even death. For more information on the Hunterdon County arrest, see the NJ.com article, “Authorities say; 20th ‘marijuana wax’ arrest made in Hunterdon.”
As it currently stands, if you are found in possession of marijuana wax officers will charge you with Possession of CDS. The seriousness of the charge will be based on the weight of the wax. For instance, possession of less than 50 grams of wax is a disorderly persons offense. Possession of more than 50 grams is crime of the Fourth Degree. A conviction for Possession of CDS (even a disorderly persons offense) can result in hefty fines, exposure to jail, and loss of driving privileges.
If, during the post-arrest laboratory testing process, it is determined that the marijuana wax contains other illegal substances, that can potentially increase the seriousness of the charge. Generally, Possession of CDS (non-marijuana) is a crime of the Third Degree.
It will be interesting to see if law enforcement continues to treat marijuana wax as the equivalent of marijuana, or whether the dangers associated with its use will result in increased penalties for possession – similar to Possession of Synthetic Marijuana (which is treated more seriously under the law than marijuana).