SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A medical marijuana producer in New Mexico has been fined $142,000 for worker safety violations related to a fire at a Santa Fe facility last October that seriously injured two employees.
The New Mexico Environment Department fined New MexiCann Natural Medicine on Wednesday citing six violations, including failures to implement a respirator program, controls for flammable vapors and ignition sources, and handling of hazardous chemicals.
The company was fined as the state Department of Health seeks to revoke its license to produce medical cannabis. The department has not yet made a decision on the license.
The fire started after two employees were in the midst of a cannabis extraction process, authorities said. One of the employees spilled a mixture of ethanol and cannabis oil onto a heater plate, causing the fire. New MexiCann, which has been licensed since 2009, closed its main facility in Santa Fe where the fire occurred.
“The indifference shown to worker safety by this company is inexcusable,” Environment Secretary James Kenney said. “Willful violations of worker safety requirements must have consequences for employers — every employee deserves to come home from work healthy.”
Company owner Carlos Gonzales, 56, was charged in February with two felony counts of arson. He is accused of switching out a hot plate that caused the fire with one that goes against manufacturing standards.