A wake-up call for the cannabis industry
- 1.1. Collapse while working
- 1.2. Why didn't we hear about his death sooner? Why is this important?
- 1.3. Little awareness of risk in a new industry
- 1.4. Massachusetts Regulators: Silent on the Issue
- 1.5. OSHA found past issues at Trulieve and Curaleaf plants
- 1.6. Cannabis flower can trigger a serious and severe reaction
- 2. Byssinosis (brown lung disease): A potential long-term risk?
- 3. The standards are too vague
A wake-up call for the cannabis industry
When an asthma attack killed Lorna McMurrey, it should have set off alarm bells throughout the industry. But his death was not made public until eight months later, when thousands of cannabis workers were and continue to be exposed to similar risks every day. In this article, we'll focus on the potential health risks that thousands of cannabis workers face when creating the products that fuel America's fastest growing industry.
The first part chronicles the life of Lorna McMurrey, her tragic death and the aftermath of the incident. The second part examines the emerging risks of cannabis work and the urgent need for safety measures in an industry that is still in its infancy.
The death of Lorna McMurrey, an employee of Trulieve in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on January 7, 2022, was one of the first work-related fatalities in the legal cannabis industry. Leafly marks the one-year anniversary of his death with "Death of a Trimmer," a series of investigations that raise troubling questions about worker safety in the legal marijuana industry.
When Lorna McMurrey took a job at a marijuana production facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts, it was a central part of her plan to improve her life. Legal cannabis was not a profession chosen lightly: Ms. McMurrey was a proud consumer and had a genuine interest in the process of growing, processing and selling marijuana, says her father-in-law, Dave Bruneau.
She hoped her job at Trulieve, the nation's largest cannabis company, would help her take the next steps towards a fully independent life. The regular salary would allow him to buy a car, move out of his parents' house and move into an apartment with friends.
“I work with kilos of grass every day. And when I do pre-rolls, all the weed and ground kief in the air triggers the asthma I didn't know I had. But hopefully it will heal itself or something. »
At the end of December 2021, she texted her stepfather asking him to bring home one of the N95 masks he wore at his job as a welder, so she could use it at work. But even while wearing a mask, Ms McMurrey's problems with airborne kief (cannabis dust) increased, causing her difficulty in breathing.
Collapse while working
On January 7, 2022, during labour, Lorna McMurrey suddenly collapsed. Three Trulieve employees gave him CPR. She was then taken to Baystate Medical Center, located in Springfield, seven miles from her job. But when Lorna's mother arrives at the hospital, the doctors inform her that her daughter is brain dead. Lorna McMurrey dies that night.
Lorna's death is one of the first workplace fatalities in the legal cannabis industry, and this incident in Holyoke should serve as a wake-up call for the entire cannabis industry.
In the decade since the first legalization laws were passed in Colorado and Washington, businesses and state regulators have focused on consumer product safety, track-and-trace systems for cannabis, the prevention of consumption by minors and the eradication of the illicit market. But little thought has been given to the health and safety of the workers who power this $25 billion engine.
This is partly because the industry is so new that many are unaware of the risks that exist in the field, in the grow room, in the pruning station, in the product line and in the sales room. Some long-time cannabis growers are aware that cannabis dust can be harmful to the lungs. But this potential risk in the workplace is largely unknown to most newcomers to the industry.
Regulators in some older legal states are aware of the risk, but this information is not passed on enough to states that have legalized more recently. Workers, managers and owners are uninformed and untrained in safety protocols, if any such protocols exist.
Beyond the profound loss suffered by Ms. McMurrey, her family, friends and colleagues, the incident raises critical questions for the entire industry. What are the health risks of handling cannabis? Are the measures taken to protect the safety of cannabis workers sufficient?
And why did eight months pass before someone issued a public alert about Lorna McMurrey's death?
Was his asthma triggered by cannabis dust?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts death certificate lists Lorna McMurrey's cause of death as cardiac and respiratory arrest and a "suspected severe asthma attack".
Federal Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials initially said Lorna McMurrey's cause of death was "occupational asthma due to exposure to cannabis dust" . This conclusion, however, was revised months later. The OSHA report now states that “an employee who was packaging ground cannabis into rolls at a commercial cannabis processing facility had an asthma attack and died in hospital.”
This change, which replaces causality with correlation, underlines the difficulty of the matter. Asthma killed Lorna McMurrey. Whether this asthma was triggered by cannabis dust, caused by cannabis dust, or triggered by some other unknown factor remains medically unproven.
McMurrey's own Facebook posts indicate she thought there was a connection. And that exposure to cannabis dust causes lung problems. “She didn't smoke cigarettes,” says Dave Bruneau, her father-in-law, “and as far as I know, this child didn't have asthma. I lived with this person, okay? I mean, I'm sitting next to his fucking room. »
If occupational asthma played a role in McMurrey's death, it raises a question for many cannabis workers: What is it?
Little awareness of risk in a new industry
Occupational asthma, also known as workplace-induced asthma, is a common risk in many industries. Airborne particles can exacerbate an existing asthmatic condition or cause asthma in someone who has never had it before.
Occupational asthma is not exactly a recently discovered danger. Lung injury from flour dust has been a recognized health hazard in the baking industry since the 1700s. Wood dust is a known lung hazard in the woodworking industry. Cotton dust is known to cause long-term lung damage in textile factory workers.
But Lorna McMurrey, like most cannabis workers, didn't know that inhaling cannabis dust could lead to lung problems.
Why didn't we hear about his death sooner? Why is this important?
The death of a worker at a facility producing cannabis products appears to be big news especially for other workers who spend their days in an environment similar to the one that triggered Ms McMurrey's asthma attack.
Federal law requires all employers to report a work-related hospitalization or death to the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) within 24 hours. Trulieve correctly notified OSHA, who sent an inspection team to Holyoke. The company has also duly notified the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). OSHA inspectors issue a fine, but make no public announcement.
Four days after McMurrey's death, federal OSHA investigators reviewed the Holyoke facility. But their report on the incident was not released for almost six months. On June 30, 2022, OSHA Regional Director Mary E. Hoye served Trulieve with a $35 fine for, among other things, failing to provide its employees with effective information and training on the hazards of cannabis dust, how to prevent exposure and what early warning signs to look for (including coughing and shortness of breath).
Despite the severity of the danger following Lorna's death, OSHA officials declined to release the press release of their findings.
It was unusual. It is normal for the OSHA National Media Office to issue a press release on notable cases. In fact, the agency publishes 15 to 30 press releases each month. In June and July 2022, she informed the public of cases involving the death of a roofing contractor in Houston; a fatal fall at a frozen food plant in New Jersey; finger amputations at a pillow factory in Georgia; and one drowning death in a Florida golf course pond.
But there was no press release regarding the death of a worker due to cannabis dust inhalation at the Trulieve plant in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Regulators: Silent on the Issue
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the state agency responsible for regulating the industry, was already investigating the Trulieve facility for worker safety issues (following previous complaints from workers) when McMurrey is deceased.
But after Trulieve informed the CCC of her death, the commission issued no public statement regarding the incident, its cause, or why the state's thousands of cannabis workers should be aware of the potential risks to health related to cannabis dust.
A commission spokesperson later explained that this was because the matter was still under investigation. But the months passed. And by its silence, the CCC has neglected its duty to inform workers about a major health and safety problem. Lorna McMurrey's untimely death might have remained largely unknown, in fact, had it not been for Danny Carson, a podcaster, one of her former co-workers at the Holyoke plant.
Several months after Ms McMurrey's death, Danny Carson spoke about the incident on his personal Facebook page. Kim Napoli, an attorney who sits on the state's Cannabis Advisory Board, saw this post by chance. (The 25-member Advisory Board is a sort of advisory body to the five-member Cannabis Control Board, which sets policy and makes rules.) Mr. Napoli mentioned the incident to Mike Crawford, who hosts a podcast on Massachusetts politics and local affairs called The Young Jurks.
Mike Crawford tracked down the OSHA report and invited Carson, Bruneau and others to his show to talk about what happened. These podcast episodes, which debuted on September 25, garnered follow-up articles in cannabis industry and mainstream media.
Suddenly, articles about McMurrey's death were popping up all over the place. In October, the company addressed the incident more fully. Trulieve officials released a statement in which they railed against what they called "false information" about the incident:
Trulieve said it maintains air quality at its Holyoke facility by deploying "appropriate industrial air handling systems designed to exchange and filter indoor air frequently" and has an "industrial system air filtration system that exchanges the air in the grinding room and has been certified by an independent engineer”. The company said it was providing N95 masks to all 175 employees at the Holyoke site. Trulieve said Lorna McMurrey wore an N95 mask for at least part of her job on January 4. The company also claimed that when Lorna McMurrey told her supervisor she was not feeling well, she was given the option of taking a paid day off, but she refused and continued working. Trulieve followed "proper protocols", company officials said, when Ms McMurrey "appeared to be in distress".
"Our hearts go out to the McMurrey family for their loss," the statement added. “Trulieve will continue to operate its facilities in a manner that fully protects the health and safety of all employees. We are confident that we did this in January  and will continue to do so in the future. »
Ms. McMurrey's survivors don't all agree with these claims. Her father-in-law finds the claim that the company supplied N95 masks implausible. “I mean, if she had access to these masks, why would she ask me [to provide them]? As for the suggestion that her daughter-in-law turned down an offer to take the rest of the day off? "I kind of believe it," says Dave Bruneau. "I really believe that, because she was a tough kid…she wasn't a fucking quitter." You know, I'll get through this. »
OSHA found past issues at Trulieve and Curaleaf plants
This wasn't Trulieve's first experience with OSHA rules regarding worker safety. In 2020, the federal agency cited Trulieve for violating respiratory protection and hazard communication regulations at its grow facility in Quincy, Florida.
The following year, a worker at the Trulieve grow facility in Reading, Pennsylvania, was electrocuted and hospitalized after inadvertently touching an exposed live wire. The worker survived, and OSHA fined Trulieve $10360 (later reduced to $7770) for the incident.
Trulieve isn't the only cannabis company to cross paths with OSHA inspectors. In early 2020, OSHA fined Curaleaf $40 (later reduced to $482) for seven workplace violations, such as the lack of an eyewash station. and the lack of machine guards at its Bellmawr, New Jersey plant. (Curaleaf has since partnered with OSHA to improve worker safety standards, including at its Nevada subsidiary, Acres Cultivation, which is one of the only cannabis facilities to earn OSHA's SHARP designation. ).
OSHA Investigated Complaints About Cresco Labs, But Issued No Penalties or Reports
A search of OSHA's database of interactions with the 10 largest US cannabis companies over the past decade yielded no further results.
Trulieve and OSHA reached an agreement last month. Following OSHA's notification letter to Trulieve on June 30, the company spent months challenging the findings and negotiating with OSHA officials.
In an announcement released Dec. 22, Trulieve officials said they had reached a voluntary settlement with OSHA regarding McMurrey's death. The agreement, according to the company, will result in “additional health and safety protections for Trulieve workers at its cannabis manufacturing facilities.”
As part of this settlement, OSHA reduced the original fine from $35219 to $14502. Trulieve agreed to conduct a study to "determine whether ground cannabis dust should be classified as a 'hazardous chemical' in the workplace, per OSHA regulations." The study must be completed by May 29, 2023.
It must be said that Leafly and other cannabis media platforms haven't really stepped up either. A cannabis worker died on the job and we didn't know until Mike Crawford started talking about it eight months later on his podcast. The death of Lorna McMurrey raises the question: What are the dangers facing cannabis workers, and who looks after their health?
For a few in the cannabis industry, Lorna McMurrey's fatal asthma attack at a cannabis processing facility in January 2022 was not shocking at all. Little did they know she would hit Lorna McMurrey, an otherwise healthy 27-year-old who suffered a severe asthma attack at a cannabis processing facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This asthma attack led to his hospitalization and ultimately to his death.
But a handful of growers of cannabis industry's most experienced knew that inhaling cannabis dust was unhealthy – and they knew it had the potential to shut down a person's airways. They tried to share this information, but few were interested in hearing it or acting on it.
Cannabis flower can trigger a serious and severe reaction
Theo Lewis is one of those people. He is the founder and CEO of Teds Budz, one of Southern California's leading indoor flower distributors. It's old school, having earned its stripes in the traditional marketplace before moving into today's state-licensed industry.
Some cannabis growers have experienced plant-triggered occupational asthma. It can be so bad that they can't even get to the cultivation sites anymore.
When Lewis started growing cannabis years ago, he worked without gloves and interacted closely with the flower, putting his face directly into the plant, breathing it in. Then something happened. About four months into the grow cycle, Lewis developed a "serious, severe" allergic reaction that initially took the form of hives that covered his body.
“After a while, he told me, I couldn't even stay in the house with the plants anymore. It blocked my lungs and throat, and I couldn't really breathe. I had to go to the hospital. »
Lewis was cautious with doctors about the origins of his medical problem - it was before legalization - but they recognized it was an allergic reaction and gave him steroids and inhalers. He says he was already prone to seasonal allergies, so he suspects his reaction was stronger.
Over the years, the situation evolved to the point that Lewis could no longer go to the grow sites - "just because I know that after a while it's going to affect me", he said. he declares.
"Dust Goes Everywhere"
Tom Lauerman knows a lot about cannabis and employee safety. “Farmer Tom,” as he is known in the industry, has been running a cannabis business for nearly 50 years, dating back decades before legalization. For the past seven years, he has worked on cannabis-related workplace safety issues with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State, and other government agencies.
“We've started to see the effects of these large processing operations on a commercial scale,” says Lauerman. I've been to a lot of pre-roll production sites, the fact that they use grinders that are like little whisks. They deposit the material in the tubes, which causes the dust to spread all over the room, and this, for hours a day, inevitably leads to big problems”.
Lauerman, who is based near the Washington-Oregon border, has hosted a number of scientists and federal officials over the years, allowing them to "learn, touch and study" plants. In 2015, he invited a team from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) to use his cannabis farm as a testing lab. For three days, they worked out safety protocols for harvesting, slicing, trimming and preparing the flowers. This information is published on Mr. Lauerman's website, farmertomorganics.
Byssinosis (brown lung disease): A potential long-term risk?
Lorna McMurrey's death made it clear that occupational asthma, caused by airborne cannabis particles, is a risk potentially facing thousands of workers like her. But there is another, more insidious and long-lasting, potential risk that is more often associated with workers of a bygone era.
Brown lung disease affected many garment workers in the American South before health protocols were put in place.
In a study published in January 2022 in the medical journal Allergy, British allergology and immunology researchers noted that “prolonged occupational exposure to hemp dust leads to respiratory irritation, airflow obstruction and inflammation called "byssinosis".
Byssinosis is an occupational lung disease caused by inhaling dust from cotton, hemp or other plant fibers. It is better known as brown lung disease, a condition that many cotton textile workers in the Southern United States once suffered from.
Byssinosis is a narrowing of the airways believed to be triggered by a bacterial toxin present in inhaled raw plant material in the form of dust. Victims may experience wheezing or difficulty breathing, and prolonged exposure over months or years may lead to permanent lung damage.
This disease is one of the ways in which workers in many sectors can become afflicted with work-related asthma. Airborne particles in the workplace can exacerbate an existing asthmatic condition or cause asthma in someone who has never had it before.
This video, produced by NIOSH, explains how cotton dust and lack of sanitation protocols led to brown lung disease among North Carolina textile factory workers in the 1970s:
A 1968 study found lung problems in hemp factory workers. Since cannabis has been illegal for so long, little research has been done on the health effects of commercial-scale marijuana production.
In 1968, however, Yugoslav scientists studied 106 workers in a hemp processing plant – the same cannabis sativa plant that today's marijuana workers handle every day. In one department, 41% of workers suffered from byssinosis and 15% from chronic bronchitis.
“There is no doubt that hemp dust Cannabis sativa can cause byssinosis and at least temporary impairment of ventilatory function,” the researchers wrote.
A second study, which focused on the health of long-time Spanish workers in the hemp sector, was published in 1969. This report found "an extremely high prevalence of chronic cough and phlegm, dyspnea and irreversible loss of lung function , compared to controls in the same age group” among older workers (50 to 69 years old).
"The chronic and disabling respiratory disease of hemp workers cannot be explained by smoking habits and is attributed to heavy and prolonged exposure to hemp dust," concluded the authors of the 1969 study, published in the American Journal of Medicine.
There is little current research linking byssinosis to today's legal cannabis workers, in part because large-scale cannabis production is still very recent. But some state regulators are aware of the anecdotal evidence.
Washington state regulators have noted a link “between inhaling plant dust and a risk of work-related respiratory problems. »
In 2017, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries released a cautionary guide for cannabis workers, noting that industrial-scale cultivation "has highlighted a link between inhalation of plant dust and a risk of work-related respiratory problems. »
In 2020 and 2021, the same agency also conducted studies that found cannabis employees experienced asthma attacks and related symptoms while performing various workplace tasks, including measuring, packaging, the weight and size of the flower.
Research has identified these potential causes of asthma in cannabis treatment centers:
- plant exposure
- inhalation of dust caused by cutting or chopping flowers
- exposure to mold spores on plants or containers
- exposure to various chemicals related to the cultivation, processing, manufacturing and testing of cannabis or a combination of these factors.
The information was not widely known
This information has rarely traveled from Washington to the 20 other states that have legalized marijuana — perhaps due to the extremely siled nature of cannabis, which by law cannot cross state lines. Julia Agron, a cannabis educator and former program coordinator for the Cannabis Education Center at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts, compares the situation to the beginnings of other industries.
Take the birth of the railway industry between 1870 and 1890, Ms. Agron said: “The history books tell me there were a lot of accidents in those days. Workplace safety laws and expectations have come a long way since then, "but we're still establishing something new," she added. "And so, we're seeing some of those hiccups as we're developing it."
A Federal Agency That Really Helps: NIOSH
In the world of worker safety, NIOSH and OSHA are kind of playing good cop and bad cop. OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is the agency of the Department of Labor that performs inspections and issues fines. NIOSH, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control, acts as a kind of agricultural extension office, offering guidance to companies on how to keep their workers safe and avoid any issues with OSHA.
In a pre-roll processing room, “dust gets everywhere. And if you're stuck in there for eight hours a day, bad things are going to happen."
The preliminary standards set in Farmer Tom's culture were published in a 2017 report. NIOSH forwards the report to new states when they legalize — but only if states request it, Lauerman told me. “They use my standard operating procedures as the basis for occupational health and safety standards,” he said. "The work is at the Library of Congress because it was a federally sponsored study."
The first concerns were about consumers, not workers
Originally, people seemed to be mostly concerned with product safety for consumers, not worker safety in the workplace. The welfare of the people who create the product was hardly taken into account. Although some states have been working on a set of protocols — including Colorado and Washington — new states are legalizing cannabis in one form or another nearly every year, and most are largely starting from scratch. .
It turns out that this frustrating cycle of reinventing the wheel isn't necessary. Information on cannabis worker safety practices and protocols is available – if you know where to look.
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. So it may come as a surprise to find that a federal agency has worked with legal marijuana companies to establish protocols to reduce the health and safety risks to cannabis workers.
Once these assessments are completed, NIOSH publishes a report of its findings and recommendations (without naming the company or giving identifying details). Over the past five years, the agency has released three reports (in 2017, 2018, and 2022) identifying the dangers of growing, harvesting, and processing cannabis, as well as protocols to protect worker health. .
Great reports never got the attention they deserved
Frustratingly, hardly anyone in the cannabis industry knows these reports exist. I only found them, after months of research on cannabis worker safety, because James Couch of NIOSH mentioned them in an offhand comment during our interview.
One of the challenges of regulating employee safety in a fledgling industry is the fundamental lack of knowledge about working conditions. Because the research doesn't yet exist, many regulators in the 21 states that have legalized adult cannabis use simply don't know what health risks they should look out for.
This startling finding came back to Bill and Jeff Levers four years ago. The Levers brothers run Beard Bros Pharms, a California-based cannabis cultivation and media company they co-founded in 2013. They also publish a website and a weekly industry newsletter, and boast a total of more than 30 years of experience in cultivation.
In 2018, after California voted for full legalization, the brothers were granted a state license for distribution and manufacturing as social equity seekers.
They still vividly remember what happened when government inspection teams arrived on day one at their Los Angeles facility. None of the inspectors seemed to have a clue what to look for in terms of security at the marijuana-specific site.
"The fire department and the cannabis inspector showed up and asked us questions because they didn't know anything," Jeff Levers told Leafly. “And there were no regulations written specifically for the fire code, or where the machinery goes, or the ventilation. There was none of this written down anywhere”.
Worker safety regulations usually start with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA can investigate any workplace under its General Duty Clause, which requires an employer to provide its workers with "a workplace that [is] free of hazards. known to cause or are likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to its employees”.
But because the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, OSHA has never set specific standards for licensed cannabis facilities. The only federal standards exist in the NIOSH recommendations that Lauerman helped create. But NIOSH protocols are voluntary, and the agency has no enforcement powers.
States and municipalities therefore find themselves with a patchwork of regulations generated by building, health, fire or environmental protection agencies. Some of these rules were created by people who work in food safety, alcohol or other parallel but distinct fields. Others, according to Bill Levers, are written by “a group of politicians who are told by paid lobbyists how they should write the regulations”.
The standards are too vague
Julia Agron told Leafly that the Massachusetts guidelines remain far too vague. State CCC regulations require companies to meet basic worker safety standards, but they are often not explicit about how to achieve this. “There aren't many details that say, 'This is how you create worker safety, or this is how you have to manage X, Y or Z,'” she says.
When businesses apply for state cannabis licenses, they must submit standard operating procedures, including security provisions. But each company sets its own practices, and neither state regulators nor OSHA are there around the clock to make sure everything is done right.
“State regulators really need to step in and lay the groundwork,” Lauerman said, “to keep workers safe. All the young people in the world want to work in the industry, and they are willing to work for next to nothing to get a place in the industry. And [corporations] profit from all of these things… Every state really has to care about workers, because corporations don't care. »
Clear employee safety regulations are obviously crucial, but beyond that, the cannabis industry may not have enough compliance structures in place. Regulations are only useful if someone enforces them.
Some believe that state agencies like the Massachusetts CCC are too few and ill-equipped to keep up with a dynamic and growing new industry.
Aidan Coffey, organizing director of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445, told Leafly that the state cannabis commission is "full of big-hearted, hard-working people who want to do their best for cannabis workers. But I don't think they have the budget to actually do the enforcement work that the legislation intended for them. The CCC therefore needs more resources to protect the safety of cannabis workers.”
For Coffey, if state regulators can't protect cannabis workers, maybe unions can. The UFCW is currently pushing to organize Trulieve workers in Holyoke and at the company's three other Massachusetts locations in Framingham, Northampton and Worcester.
Worker safety is an industry-wide issue
According to Coffey, the McMurrey incident clearly motivated Trulieve employees. "You can draw a direct link in this campaign between when workers started talking about organizing and what happened in the west," he said, referring to the death from McMurrey to Holyoke.
Large-scale security issues go far beyond a single company, Coffey added. “The problems at the Holyoke plant are by no means unique to Trulieve, Massachusetts,” he told Leafly. "Worker safety, especially in crops, is an industry-wide issue."
Coffey said he thinks the industry needs to take three actions in the wake of McMurrey's death. Workers must be free to organize, more safety regulations must be put in place, and the CCC and other similar agencies at the state level must be created.
Coffey said he thinks the industry needs to take three actions in the wake of McMurrey's death. Workers must be free to organize, more safety regulations must be put in place, and the CCC and similar statewide agencies must be strengthened. “There is work to be done on cannabis worker safety across the country,” he said.
What is a company's responsibility?
Karima Rizk thinks it's a question of willpower. Karima Rizk has held numerous positions in the cannabis industry since 2016, the most recent being Senior Vice President, Compliance at Green Meadows Farm in Massachusetts. She said worker safety is ultimately a matter of every company that digs deep enough and spends enough resources.
She has designed training and incident management systems focused on preventing workplace accidents in the cannabis industry. Frontline supervisors, she says, need to know how to recognize signs of health problems in workers, including allergies to ground cannabis dust and cleaning solutions, which can lead to headaches and difficulty breathing.
Workers and supervisors need to know the specific actions to take if things go wrong. At her former company, any employee who complained of not feeling well, she said, was immediately sent for consultation with a health and safety engineer.
Security requires investments: Time, energy and money
Rizk believes the industry can do more to prevent workplace injuries, and that starts with cannabis companies taking worker safety seriously and investing in it.
She called Lorna McMurrey's death "a case study that shows why compliance and environmental health and safety are key to running a legal cannabis business."
“It is a significant oversight for well-capitalized multi-state operators to not have the dedicated resources, knowledge, training and proper systems in place to monitor and take appropriate action,” she added.
Cannabis companies need to do better for their employees. Perhaps the too short life and tragic death of Lorna McMurrey will contribute to this. The government wants to make a lot of money,” Tom Lauerman told me. “And they really don't care about the people doing the work. These are the people who are being unfairly harmed due to the general negligence of these corporations and the states – the commissions – that [supervise] these operations. I think the responsibility lies with both parties. »