Following Worker Death And With Employees Organizing, Trulieve Exits Massachusetts

“I’m not surprised it happened but that it happened so soon.”

In what may be the biggest news in Massachusetts cannabis since podcaster Mike Crawford of the Young Jurks broke the story last year that 27-year-old employee Lorna McMurrey died after going into cardiac arrest at the Trulieve cultivation in Holyoke, today the multistate operator announced plans to “wind down its operations in Massachusetts” by closing dispensaries in Framingham, Northampton, and Worcester by June 30 and ceasing all Mass operations by the end of 2023.

“These difficult but necessary measures are part of ongoing efforts to bolster business resilience and our commitment to cash preservation as we continue to focus on our business strategy of going deep in our core markets and jettisoning non-contributive assets,” Trulieve Chief Executive Officer Kim Rivers said in a statement. “We remain fully confident in our strategic position and the long term prospects for the industry.”

Image of former Trulieve supervisor Danny Carson outside the company’s Holyoke cultivation via the Young Jurks

This is hardly the first horror show for Trulieve, which also operates in 10 other states including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The publicly-traded company has also gotten blowback in response to its push to outlaw home grow in some markets, while brand ambassador and rapper Wiz Khalifa recently caught wind on social media for his affiliation. At the same time, workers have been organizing and demonstrating outside of their Holyoke grow.

“[I’m] not surprised it happened but that it happened so soon,” Crawford of the Young Jurks told Talking Joints Memo. His podcast has continued to cover Trulieve closely, and just last week interviewed Danny Carson, a former supervisor with the company. They will also record a special episode later today covering the exit announcement. He continued … 

“This raises questions on whether this was done now to shut down the federal [National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health] health hazard evaluation that was expected to start later this month at Trulieve Holyoke.”

Crawford added that his team will keep impugning the company, “especially in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida, where there’s even less press coverage and state labor protections.”

“We will continue with our Trulieve coverage and any other big cannabis employers that treat their workers poorly. What’s very exciting now is workers are getting organized,” the Young Jurks host said. “For the last several months we’ve been organizing with MassCOSH, UFCW, Jobs with Justice, and other orgs to bring change at the Cannabis Control Commission and in the industry and it does seem to be yielding results.”