'They Killed My Friend' Says Ex-Trulieve Employee Revealing More Details About Incident

One of the biggest multi-state cannabis operators in the U.S., Trulieve TCNNF, is still making headlines over the unfortunate incident that occurred on Jan. 7, 2022, when the company lost one of its employees, Lorna McMurrey. And now, former colleagues are coming forth with damning information about the incident. 

Danny Carson, McMurrey’s former supervisor recently confirmed to WeedWeek and on the Young Jurks podcast that the month following McMurrey's tragic death, Trulieve promoted the facility’s environment, health and safety manager.

What happened

On Jan 7, McMurrey, who was working at the Trulieve facility grinding and packaging cannabis into prerolls, reportedly complained that she couldn’t breathe because of cannabis kief (cannabis dust) in the room. She was taken to a local hospital where she, unfortunately, died soon afterward.

Several months after her death, the case was brought to public attention by a podcast that covers the Massachusetts cannabis industry and related politics. Via the podcast, The Young Jurks, and the issuance of a new report filed by officials with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the incident came to light.

So far, the only official document in the case is the OSHA report, which states that the case is still open, meaning the content is subject to change. According to the report, Trulieve committed three “serious” violations assessed by OSHA for which it paid fines totaling $35,219.

No Protective Equipment In The Facility

Carson, a six-year Air Force veteran whose experience includes working for a large vehicle manufacturing company, denied Trulieve’s statement that the facility's personnel had protective equipment available to them. He said the masks at their disposal were for COVID prevention and were not respiratory masks made especially for industrial jobs and the type of work being done at the facility.

Covid masks “are not sufficient to help their employees with breathing,” Carson said, adding that the lack of access to respirators is a common occurrence within the cannabis industry.

The employees did have access to “cultivation protective equipment,” or gear to protect the cannabis products, Carson pointed out.

“Gloves are not personal protective equipment,” he said. “A hairnet is not personal productive equipment.”

Furthermore, Carson revealed that the night of the incident wasn’t the first time McMurrey ended up in the hospital while working at Trulieve. He was referring to the report from McMurrey’s friend Faith Torres who told Western Mass News, “There was one point where she did have an asthma attack and she was brought from there to the hospital. That’s when she found out that she had asthma. She’d never had it before.”

Afraid To Speak Up

Carson also highlighted problems in the company's corporate culture, saying that workers in lower positions were afraid to speak up, even about issues concerning their own safety. 

“I was screamed at by my boss and told to stay in my lane when I caught someone stealing cannabis product from the facility,” he said. That was when he quit the job. 

When asked if he signed a non-disclosure agreement preventing employees from speaking publicly about delicate matters, Carson said that he might have, but...“they killed my friend.” 

Previous Violations 

It seems that this is not the first time that OSHA has issued penalties against Trulieve over alleged regulatory violations at its cultivation facilities according to TheShoeString. In March of this year, Trulieve settled an OSHA case in Pennsylvania, where it was accused of violating a regulation demanding businesses to report involving in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye in the case of employees and workers.

Furthermore, some two years ago, OSHA cited the company for violating respiratory protection and hazard communication regulations at its cultivation facility in Quincy, Florida.

Price Action 

Trulieve shares were trading 4.69% lower at $9.55 per share at the time of this writing.

Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Lange on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisNewsSmall CapMarketscannabis employee deathDanny CarsonFaith TorresLorna McMurreyThe Young JurksTheShoeStrinWeedWeek
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