New Mexico cannabis firm fined $142K for safety violations, might lose license

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(This story has been updated to note that the Santa Fe New Mexican tried to reach a company representative but was unsuccessful.) 

A medical cannabis company in New Mexico is facing $142,000 in fines and the possible loss of its business license stemming from a fire that harmed multiple workers.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the state Environment Department has already levied the fines against New MexiCann Natural Medicine, which runs three MMJ dispensaries. And the state health department is attempting to yank the company’s business permit.

At issue is an explosion and resulting fire in October at one of New MexiCann’s production facilities, which state authorities allege resulted from willful disregard for safety protocols during a cannabis extraction process.

Multiple employees told regulators that a hot plate used for extraction was set with its temperature above state-mandated safety standards, which led to the explosion.

The Environment Department fined the company for failing to:

  • Ensure a safe, quick exit for employees from the extraction room.
  • Control flammable vapors.
  • Control potential ignition sources.
  • Analyze hazards and provide safety gear for workers.
  • Install a respirator program.
  • Address potentially hazardous chemicals.

A spokesperson for the state health department told the Santa Fe newspaper that an officer submitted a report April  9 recommending that New MexiCann’s business permit be revoked.

The state health secretary has 30 days after receiving the report to decide whether to rescind the license.

Also, the owner of the company, Carlos Gonzales, is facing two felony charges of arson over the incident.

The company’s main headquarters in Santa Fe has been closed.

“A voice greeting at New MexiCann’s main office said that location is closed and directed callers to its dispensary on West Cordova Road. The dispensary had only a voicemail greeting with no one answering the phone,” the New Mexican reported.

The business, one of 34 licensed medical marijuana companies in New Mexico, has been in operation since 2009.