Police take action on a dangerous drug "wax"

Wax is extremely potent and can be deadly for those who attempt to make it.

Butane is used to make wax. It extracts the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) from marijuana. THC is the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana.

Wax is greasy and looks a lot like lip balm.

So what makes this drug so dangerous? First, is the high potency. Second, is the amount of butane used when making wax. Undercover agents say it's like making an IED or homemade bomb. "Someone plugging in an appliance, while making wax, can spark an explosion," explained an undercover agent in Radford.

Radford University student Ryan Koon died last year after trying to make wax. Sergeant Szerokman was one of the first to arrive at the students house when the emergency call came through.

"He was pacing around the front yard when I pulled up to the house. When you're burned that bad, it burns the nerve endings so he wasn't feeling the pain yet. He was coherent, he was talking to us, but you could tell he had second and third degree burns over 90 percent of his body. He was concerned and he asked me if he was going to live," says Szerokman.

This incident was actually the first time Radford Police saw this in our area. "It is new to us but butane hash oil has been around for many years from the west coast but it's just now trending to us in the east," explained Szerokman.

Already 21 states have legalized marijuana in some fashion. In some states, even wax is legal. But in states like Virginia, where wax and marijuana are both illegal, users try to make wax on their own and that's where things get dangerous.

Undercover agents WDBJ7 talked to say they're taking action. "We have a protocol now that we're going to deal with it because of the dangers. It's a risk to those that are doing it, to public safety, and to law enforcement."

Currently in Virginia, if you're caught with wax, the punishment will depend on the THC level.

If the THC level is high enough, law enforcement will treat "wax" as a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 drug, right alongside crack, heroine and meth.

Just for possessing this drug, you could be charged with a class five felony, with one to ten years in jail.