New Mexico regulators are considering revoking the license of the company that operated the facility where two workers were seriously injured in a fire last October, the Associated Press reports. The accident at New Mexicann Natural Medicine occurred during the extraction process when a mixture of ethanol and cannabis oil spilled onto a heater plate.
It was the second fire, described prior to the investigation as an explosion, at the facility that caused injuries over five years.
Officials contend that New Mexicann didn’t train staff on how to properly use the equipment. The Health Department immediately suspended the company’s manufacturing license following the incident. According to the December 21 notice outlined by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the producer violated medical cannabis program regulations by not using a closed-loop system to make concentrates and by instructing employees to stir the contents of the open container during the extraction process without directing them to turn off or cool the heater plate first.
“By lifting an open extraction vessel containing an ethanol-based solution in the immediate vicinity of an active heater plate, New Mexicann engaged in conduct that showed a willful and reckless disregard for health and safety.” – Medical Cannabis Program Director Dominick Zurlo, in the notice, via the New Mexican
A previous fire at the plant in 2015 severely burned two employees involved in the extraction process. Following that incident, Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 12 “serious” health and safety violations and fined it $13,500. The state Occupational Safety and Health Bureau cited the company for seven serious violations and levied a $7,250 fine for that accident, according to NM Political Report.
A hearing for the matter was reportedly scheduled for January 4 but was rescheduled.
New Mexicann has been licensed in the state since 2009.
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