Medical cannabis producer fined $142,000 » Albuquerque Journal


New MexiCann Natural Medicine, pictured here after a fire at the facility in 2015, was fined $142,000 by the New Mexico Environment Department for violations that led to an explosion last year that injured two workers. Now, the company could lose its medical cannabis producer license. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – New MexiCann Natural Medicine was fined $142,348 by the New Mexico Environment Department and could have its medical cannabis producer license revoked due to violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act as a result of an October 2020 explosion that injured two workers.

The company was cited for six violations, including failures to implement a respirator program, controls for flammable vapors and ignition sources and handling of hazardous chemicals.

New MexiCann has 15 days to contact NMED or pay the fine.

This is the second time the dispensary was issued citations. In 2016, the Environment Department cited the company for a 2015 explosion that also injured two workers and fined the company $13,500.

“The indifference shown to worker safety by this company is inexcusable,” Environment Secretary James Kenney said in a news release. “Willful violations of worker safety requirements must have consequences for employers – every employee deserves to come home from work healthy.”

In addition to the citations, the hearing officer who heard the case recommended that New MexiCann’s producer’s license be permanently revoked. He submitted his report to DOH on Friday.

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The final decision on the license will be issued by Health Secretary Tracie Collins within 30 days.

John Day, attorney for New MexiCann, and its owner, Carlos Gonzales, declined to comment.

Gonzales is also criminally charged with two counts of negligent arson for the October explosion. His case is currently in Santa Fe Magistrate Court.

The hearing officer said in his report that there was a preponderance of evidence that New MexiCann failed to use a closed-loop extraction system and showed a willful or reckless disregard for health or safety.

The hearing officer described New MexiCann’s proposed remedies to the explosion and extraction system as “too little, too late.” He went on to state New MexiCann should have addressed deficiencies after the 2015 explosion.



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