Trulieve fined $350K over Massachusetts cannabis worker’s death

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(This story was updated at 7:25 p.m. ET to include quotes from Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Acting Chair Ava Callender Concepcion.)

Massachusetts regulators on Thursday levied a $350,000 fine on Trulieve Cannabis in connection with the death of an employee in January 2022.

Lorna McMurrey, 27, collapsed while working at a Trulieve cultivation and processing location on Jan. 4, 2022, after having trouble breathing.

A report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found McMurrey’s Jan. 7, 2022, death stemmed from occupational asthma triggered by ground cannabis dust.

A Trulieve spokesperson did not immediately respond to an MJBizDaily request for comment.

Trulieve settlement

A company representative signed a tentative settlement with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) on May 29, according to the agency’s records.

In a stipulated settlement unanimously approved Thursday, the CCC found that the Florida-based multistate operator had “failed to comply” with various workplace safety procedures, such as:

  • “Process Marijuana in a safe and sanitary manner” from “2021 and into 2022.”
  • Provide “adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect workers from potential hazards.”
  • “Reassess Processing activities … for hazards” after McMurrey was hospitalized for the first time, although she had “continued trouble breathing, was constantly coughing, and took frequent breaks to use an inhaler.”
  • “Offer McMurrey a different position at the Holyoke facility after she had returned to work.”

Trulieve did not admit to nor deny the commission’s findings.

Cannabis worker safety

Speaking to the media after the CCC meeting, Acting Chair Ava Callender Concepcion said she hopes there are “a lot of eyes” on the final order and stipulated agreement, which lays out the Commission’s findings.

Specifically, she wants to ensure that other jurisdictions and states receive the information.

“There’s recognition of the need to examine worker safety as it relates to allergens, and how this can could result in something like this,” Callender Concepcion said.

“If anything, there’s increased attention. It’s now on everyone’s radar.”

Trulieve fines

Trulieve previously had been fined $14,502 by OSHA in connection with McMurrey’s death.

The company also was sued by McMurrey’s family.

The January 2022 incident was McMurrey’s “second medical emergency” while working at Trulieve’s cultivation center in Holyoke, according to the state CCC.

Previously, she was admitted to a hospital on Nov. 9, 2021, after falling ill at work, the CCC documents show.

Tallahassee-based Trulieve ceased operations in Massachusetts in 2023.