An explosion that took place Thursday afternoon of last week in New Mexico is making headlines, as it took place inside a cannabis manufacturing facility and injured two.
Local news sources report that two men were injured in the explosion last week, which took place at New Mexicann Natural Medicine’s facility based in Santa Fe. It is also noteworthy that less than five years ago, the plant made headlines for another explosion of a similar type.
Jimmy Vigil, New Mexico State Fire Marshal fire investigations bureau captain, reported that the incident is currently still under investigation by several different entities. Camera footage of the dispensary and extraction unit will be looked at more closely, and samples from the unit will be examined by the Santa Fe City Fire Department, the state Department of Health and OSHA.
The two injured employees involved in the explosion were airlifted to the hospital in Denver directly after the event, according to the Department of Health. Their names have not as of yet been provided to the press. Both employees were burned on their heads and torsos, and were in serious enough condition to be airlifted to the hospital, but official details about their injuries have not been released.
There was also some property damage reported at the dispensary, although there is no official report on that at this time.It’s likely that the explosion took place near the chemical extraction equipment. However, according to the Department of Health, there is still no clear, discovered cause for the fire.
In the meantime, as New Mexicann Natural Medicine awaits investigation, things will be on hold in terms of production. The state has suspended licenses and all approval to manufacture cannabis in New Mexico for the time being. David Morgan, spokesman for the Department of Health, reported that a notice was issued last Thursday to Executive Director Carlos Gonzales, who declined to comment to the media.
From this point on, any New Mexicann dispensary locations have to stop working with compressed gas extractions. This will affect all five of the locations throughout New Mexico, Taos, Española, Las Vegas and two in Santa Fe.
The other explosion that took place at the New Mexicann facility is also of note. Back in 2015, that explosion also burned two coworkers. It happened when two workers were extracting THC using cannabis that was soaked with butane and then heated to boil off liquid and create hash. The method is looked down on as unsafe by many in the industry because of the highly flammable nature of butane that is heated during the extraction process.
At the time, New Mexicann Natural Medicine was fined $13,500 by OSHA and cited for at least 12 violations, which were considered serious by the state. While there isn’t enough evidence right now to tell whether the facility is guilty of the same things it was doing before, or the extent of damage and injuries, it’s clear that this does not look good for New Mexicann Natural Medicine.