Worker Dies From Inhaling "Cannabis Dust"

Liz Filmer
05 Oct 2022

A Massachusetts cannabis production facility worker has died from inhaling cannabis dust whilst making pre-rolled joints.

According to the report from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The employee died while assembling pre-rolled joints at a cannabis production site in Massachusetts. This site is owned and operated by Trulieve, a Florida-based vertically integrated cannabis company with operations in 11 states.

In its report, OSHA investigators wrote that an employee was grinding cannabis flower to be packaged into pre-rolls on January 7 when the incident occurred. The report provides few details; however, it did determine that the unidentified "employee was struggling to breathe and died due to the hazards of ground cannabis dust. The inhaled dust contained kief and detached trichomes. 

In June, OSHA levied fines totalling more than $35,000 against Trulieve regarding the incident. The agency alleges that Trulieve violated federal regulations that require companies to keep a written hazard communication plan and safety data sheets concerning hazardous chemicals and provide training and information on those chemicals.

The deceased worker has been identified as 27-year-old Lorna L. McMurrey of West Springfield, Massachusetts. In a post on YouTube, a statement was published from a former co-worker who called out the Trulieve facility for mismanagement.

 "I had quit about a month prior to her passing due to the horrific management and corruption that I witnessed daily as a supervisor within the facility." 

Drew Weisse, an organizer at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459, a labour union that represents workers at a cannabis production facility operated by Green Thumb Industries, was quoted as saying that cannabisworkers face many hazards in the workplace.

"You're doing farm work in a factory, so you have the health hazards associated with both farm and factory settings," 

Trulieve grow up to 80,000 square feet of cannabis plants at its facility in Massachusetts. Trulieve operates in 11 "legal" states with  leading market positions in Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania and three cannabis retail stores in Massachusetts. 

Liz Filmer