BERKLEY — Fire Chief Scott Fournier and Berkley Fire Rescue would like to share the following cannabis fire safety information with residents in order to mitigate potential fire hazards relating to growing or processing marijuana in homes.
In Massachusetts, it is legal to grow six plants per adult (over 21 years of age) for a maximum of 12 plants per home, according to Massachusetts’s marijuana laws. All activities related to growing or processing marijuana are fire hazards and must be done in compliance with the State Fire Code.
“There are many dangers and risks related to growing and processing cannabis in one’s home,” Chief Fournier said. “We hope that by providing the following information we will potentially help to prevent any fire-related accidents associated with marijuana growing.”
Wiring and Building Modifications
Growing cannabis may entail using high-powered lamps, constant irrigation, fertilizer, temperature control and ventilation. Any modifications made to a house or its system must be in accordance with local and state fire codes.
When growing cannabis in a home, residents should:
- Ensure all electrical appliances used in the growing process are certified by an accredited testing agency.
- Plug all heat-generating appliances directly into outlets and not use extension cords or power strips.
- Avoid running cords under rugs, which can damage the cord and cause a fire.
- Avoid overloading a circuit and should not bypass electrical system safety mechanisms, such as circuit breakers and fuses.
- Acquire a building permit from the building department (or landlord) before modifying a building for ventilation or insulation.
Any modifications made to insulation or ventilation can affect how a fire will spread, posing a danger to both occupants and responding firefighters.
Extraction of Cannabis Oil
The hazardous extraction of cannabis oil can cause explosions or fires that result in serious injuries or property damage as vapors can easily find ignition sources.
The following information includes the dangers of hazardous cannabis oil extraction:
- Extracting cannabis with flammable materials (such as propane, butane, or alcohol) is extremely dangerous and potentially explosive.
- Residents should be aware that extracting cannabis with flammable materials such as butane in homes is against the law. It is also illegal to store more than 2 pounds of butane inside your home.
- Propane may not be stored inside a home. Having more than 42 pounds of propane or butane requires a permit, and more than 2,000 pounds requires a license from the city or town.
- Extracting cannabis in a basement is particularly dangerous because flammable vapors can accumulate in high concentrations, leading to more powerful explosions.
In order to conduct extraction safely using flammable materials, residents should obtain a permit from their fire department.
Additionally, residents should also have a permit from their fire department to store flammable gas or liquid. Depending on the quantity of flammable material residents may also need a license from the city or town.
Berkley Fire Rescue would also like to remind residents that having a working smoke alarm will give residents the early warning they need to safely escape a fire. All residents should have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of their home and have them tested every month.
As always, if you have an emergency, call 911.