Eagle-Vail man sentenced in hash oil explosion
March 17, 2017
EAGLE-VAIL — A man who called the media to tell his side of a hash oil explosion story has pleaded guilty to an arson charge. Ryne Wilhelmi, 26, will spend 45 days in jail and two years on probation after more than a year and a half of fighting related drug charges.
The April 29, 2015, explosion happened in an Eagle-Vail townhome Wilhelmi was renting. He was processing marijuana into hash oil with a butane hash oil extractor. Processing marijuana enhances the THC potency for users.
In Colorado, you have to be licensed to process marijuana. Wilhelmi was not.
No one else hurt
Wilhelmi stood erect and well groomed at the podium in a suit before Judge Russell Granger, pleading guilty to a felony plea. In arguing for a light sentence, his attorney argued that Colorado's Amendment 64 allows marijuana to be processed into hash oil.
"He was the only one injured and damaged no property other than his own," his attorney said.
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Wilhelmi is a medical marijuana card holder. His mother told Granger that her son has been battling the effects of pain medication and other medicines. He had open heart surgery when he was 13, and has dealt with depression since then, his mother said.
Wilhelmi lives in Arapahoe County and works in Douglas County. He is enrolled in college.
On the day of the incident, another resident of that townhome complex reported hearing a large explosion, then saw Wilhelmi fly through the air as a result of the explosive force, prosecutors said.
Wilhelmi suffered severe burns from the explosion, and received medical treatment.
He called the Vail Daily from his hospital bed, saying his closed-loop system was legal, but that a malfunctioning valve caused the explosion.
The Eagle County Sheriff's Office said at the time that a closed-loop system was prohibited in residential areas.
Wilhelmi said when the explosion occurred he moved quickly to ensure his neighbors' safety. He said he dragged the burner across that open space and dropped it into green grass and mud.
About hash oil
Hash oil is typically made by packing the castoff leaves and stems of marijuana plants into a pipe and pouring highly flammable butane through it. The concoction is heated to make the potent oil. It's far less expensive than buying it in stores.
The golden-colored mixture can be up to 80 percent THC, marijuana's intoxicating chemical. Devotees say one or two drops can produce a more euphoric high than an entire joint. It can also be infused into baked goods or vaporized.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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