July Explosion Leads to OSHA Fine for New Mexico Pot Business

March 18, 2016

A medical marijuana dispensary in New Mexico has been fined for safety violations after an explosion badly burned two workers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration spent about eight months investigating the July 23 explosion and found a total of 12 serious health and safety violations.

OSHA has ordered New MexiCann Natural Medicine to pay several fines totaling $13,500. Online records show that inspectors verified in January that there were no continuing hazards.

The explosion occurred while the two workers were making hash oil, a process that involves soaking marijuana in butane to extract THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. A report from the Santa Fe Fire Department said the blast was caused when a butane leak met with an ignition source.

The state Environment Department released video of the explosion, which shows the dispensary going from completely normal to engulfed in flames in just a flash.

A report from the Santa Fe Fire Department said a butane leak from one of the lines met with an ignition source to cause the blast, which was powerful enough to separate the roof from the wall and melt fluorescent lights close to the explosion.

Fire inspectors couldn’t pinpoint what caused the ignition, but noted that the extraction equipment is moved often and could have caused a leak in one of the butane lines.

New MexiCann is one of the state’s 35 medical marijuana dispensaries. After the explosion, two inspections were conducted — one for safety hazards and one for health hazards. The safety investigation netted seven “serious” violations, meaning the infractions that can result in serious injury or death, according to OSHA officials.

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