On June 4th of this year, the city of Colorado Springs City Council passed Ordinance No. 18-50, officially adopting the 2015 edition of the International Fire Code. Those in marijuana extraction should take note. Staying in compliance is crucial for staying in business. A major part of compliance is being aware of building and fire codes for your area.

Generally, marijuana extraction fire codes are pretty dry pieces of information. Let’s face it, they’re written with verbose language and with a complicated numbering system. However, fire codes are there for a reason. You want your own property to be protected. Conversely, you want nearby businesses to take the codes seriously too.

The FYI on the IFC

The International Fire Code® (IFC®), is a comprehensive and up-to-date code of regulations addressing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire, explosion, handling or use of hazardous materials and the use and occupancy of buildings and premises. The IFC revises the code on a three-year cycle through the International Code Council (ICC).

Marijuana Extraction Fire Codes Updated

The 2015 IFC fire code officially defines extraction as “the process of removing essential oils or other botanic material from a given plant material.” Post-oil processing is “the process of refining essential oils after extraction from the plant material, including, but not limited to dewaxing, and winterization processes.”

New Rules Regarding Marijuana Extraction Room Venting

Same rules, still required, and still important. Only perform extraction processes in a room dedicated to the process (3903.1.1). As for egress: All exit access doorways leading from the extraction room shall swing in the direction of egress and be provided with panic hardware where hazardous materials are used in the extraction process (3903.1.2).

Fully enclose all extraction rooms. Construct floor, ceiling, walls of extraction rooms with a minimum of one-hour rated construction in accordance with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Code (3903.1.3). Any openings into your extraction room(s) must only be for egress provided for egress, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems that serve the extraction room (3903.1.4).

3903.1.6 Fire protection. Protect extraction rooms, booths, or hoods, and ductwork for hazardous exhaust systems, with an approved automatic fire-extinguishing system. The system needs to comply with Chapter 9 where any of the following conditions exist:

  1. Extraction processes utilizing flammable and/or combustible materials, or off-gassing flammable vapors from spent plant material or oil.
  2. Vapors are released exceeding 25% of the lower flammable limit from flammable liquid extraction processes or flammable liquid post-oil processing.

Proper Venting Rules Remain the Same

Venting extraction rooms are crucial to preventing dangerous unintended ignition of combustible materials. Furthermore, rooms must be vented, and all electrical equipment, hoods, or booths containing flammable and/or combustible material extraction processes must be installed in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (3903.2.2). Next, put into place grounding and bounding precautions – to minimize ignition by static electrical sparks through static bonding and grounding of extraction equipment, ducts, and piping etc. (3903.2.3).

Approved Marijuana Extraction Equipment

If hazardous material comes into contact with extraction equipment, it must be certified and approved before use (3903.3). Have the fire code official inspect all extraction equipment before being used (3903.3.2.1). As for extraction process equipment that is certified through third-party agencies, the equipment must be recertified biannually. In either case, send proof of your equipment’s recertification within 30 days (3903.3.1).  Additionally, you can modify your marijuana extraction equipment. But re-certify it before putting it back into use (3903.3.2).

Approved Exhaust Requirements

You must install exhaust systems for extraction systems, and operate it at all times. This operation is critical when extractions or post-oil processing is taking place – until the flammable and/or combustible materials are off-gassed from oil and/or plant material removed from extraction equipment (3903.4).

Interlock exhaust system with room power, so when the exhaust system is off, power and lighting will be disabled (3903.4.1.2).

New Sections Added to Growing Operations

Furthermore, Colorado Springs amended some of their fire codes for cannabis growing operations. You must have alarms for potential hazardous material gas and vapor release. But the codes require alarms if gas/vapor release could cause immediate harm, (by exceeding permissible exposure level (PEL) of the gas, by decreasing the oxygen level to below 19.5% or by exceeding 25% of lower flammable limit (LFL) of a flammable gas) (5001.3.3.19.).

Now, you can now install fire sprinkler systems that have a single ordinary temperature, quick response sprinkler head from the domestic water supply if the room is not bigger than 24 square feet (5306.2.2).

Let Pinnacle Guide You Through the Tangled Web of Codes

The above-noted fire codes and amendments are just some of the requirements for marijuana extraction processes or marijuana grows. Safety first, as they say. By adopting the 2015 Code edition, Colorado Springs helps ensure commercial manufacturers and others operate with prevention in mind.

Whether you are starting from scratch or want to make certain that operations are in compliance, schedule a call or sit-down with the experts at Pinnacle. Don’t risk your business and your life by thinking your current set-up is safe enough.

You can view the 2015 International Fire Code and the amendments to the codes in their entirety in the Office of the City Clerk during regular business hours.