Massachusetts medical marijuana workers sick with coronavirus

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In what could be a warning to medical cannabis business owners throughout Massachusetts, state regulators are looking into complaints that a large MMJ company was not following social-distancing guidelines and other measures to lessen the spread of the coronavirus after two employees were diagnosed with COVID-19.

One person who tested positive worked at a large cultivation and processing facility owned by the New England Treatment Access in Franklin, Massachusetts, and the other worked at a NETA-owned medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton, Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe.

Employees told the newspaper that the social distancing guidelines are either only enforced on occasion or they are not practical.

The Franklin facility, where more than 400 work, grows strains of marijuana that is turned into edibles and other products. None of the product was contaminated by the coronavirus, the company told the newspaper.

NETA officials also said that a group of workers who had been in “close contact” with the infected dispensary worker are self-quarantining.

Medical marijuana operations in Massachusetts have been deemed “essential” businesses that can remain open during the pandemic.

But Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has required recreational MJ stores to close, because he fears out-of-state customers could spread the virus.

A Cannabis Control Commission spokeswoman told The Globe that it is “looking into” complaints from NETA employees who allege the company isn’t doing enough to protect them from the coronavirus.

In addition to strictly enforce social distancing between customers and employees, the commission has urged medical marijuana companies to:

  • Allow sick employees to stay home.
  • Switch to preorders at dispensaries.
  • Increase sanitization measures.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.