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Four Past Penalties For Trulieve Offenses Outside Of Massachusetts

“The employer did not ensure that the floor of each workroom is maintained in a clean and, to the extent feasible, in a dry condition.” Among other OSHA violations.

Last June, the major multistate operator Trulieve announced plans to “wind down its operations in Massachusetts” by closing dispensaries in Framingham, Northampton, and Worcester that month and ceasing all Mass operations by the end of 2023.

The decision followed the death of 27-year-old Trulieve employee Lorna McMurrey in January 2022 after she went into cardiac arrest at the company’s cultivation in Holyoke.

That June, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Trulieve three fines totaling $35,219 for alleged violations related to the death, which the company contested, according to OSHA records, eventually getting the penalty lowered to $14,502. 

Eight months later, in June 2024, the agency published the “Final Order and Stipulated Agreement between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and Life Essence, Inc. d/b/a Trulieve.” In the “settlement,” which comes “in lieu of further administrative action,” the CCC notes that Trulieve, which no longer operates in Massachusetts, “has cooperated with the Commission’s investigation and has agreed to affirmative action to further industry education and worker safety.” 

The company “neither admits nor denies the findings,” which include that “Trulieve did not reassess hazards or identify any hazard mitigation having assessed McMurrey’s medical emergency as a personal health Issue.” But according to a “Stipulated Remedy” section, the “Respondent agrees to pay a monetary fine in the amount of three-hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000.00).”

It’s a small bit of transparency—years later—in a situation that the public only first learned about through podcaster Mike Crawford of the Young Jurks, who broke the story in January 2022. Furthermore, Alex Halperin of WeedWeek and Eric Casey of Burn After Reading reported extensively on nearly 400 pages of documents detailing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into this unprecedented “cannabis worker death from occupational asthma,” which both journalists requested and obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act.

And while there will hopefully be more to come out on the Mass front, Trulieve is a national powerhouse, and its behavior in the Bay State did not unfold in a vacuum. There is plenty written about the company’s “marijuana legalization campaign in Florida,” which MJ Biz Daily reported “is actually an effort to mislead voters into helping tighten the company’s ‘monopolistic stranglehold’ on the state’s cannabis market, the state attorney general alleged.” But there are also other documented offenses in the books. 

None are as severe as those which triggered the recent CCC fine, but they’re noteworthy nonetheless. Using the Good Jobs First Violation Tracker, we took a trip down penalty lane.

In a penalty issued in August 2019, Trulieve was fined $6,000 by OSHA for an offense in its Quincy, Florida grow flagged as “Other Food Crops Grown Under Cover.” A subsequent violation issued in February 2020 details

A written respiratory protection program that included the provisions in 29 CFR 1910.134(c)(1)(i) – (ix) with worksite specific procedures was not established and implemented for required respirator use: a. On or about August 13, 2019, and at times previously, in the chemical mixing and plant grow areas, the employer required employees to use tight fitting, half and full face, respirators, during the mixing and spray application of hazardous chemical type pesticides and fertilizers, without a written respiratory protection program, exposing these employees to health hazards such as, but limited to acute and chronic respiratory injury and illness.

In March 2022, Trulieve was fined $7,770 for a “workplace safety or health violation” and “safety-related offenses” stemming from an unfortunate injury at the company’s Reading, Pennsylvania facility. The inspection report notes:

At approximately 7:45 a.m. on November 27, 2021, an employee worked in the Flower Room moving flower racks around to perform tasks such as watering. While moving a rack, an electrical cord stretched and pulled from its mount in the junction box, exposing a live wire and causing a section of lighting to go out. The employee climbed a ladder and attempted repositioning the cord that pulled free and inadvertently touched the live wire. The employee was electrocuted and hospitalized to treat these injuries.

In 2023, OSHA and Trulieve reached an informal settlement for $16,000 following two “serious” penalties at the latter’s Tampa, Florida grow. Per the inspection report:

The employer did not ensure that the floor of each workroom is maintained in a clean and, to the extent feasible, in a dry condition. The employer did not ensure that when wet processes are used, drainage is be maintained and, to the extent feasible, dry standing places, such as false floors, platforms, and mats are provided. a) In the kitchen area located at 2614 E Henry Avenue, Tampa, FL 33610: On or about December 20, 2022, the employer exposed employees to a slipping hazard, in that employees working in a wet process area were sweeping gelatin and water that had built up in the work area into a drain and were not provided enough mats to prevent falls.

And in the Middle District of Florida, in August 2022, “Trulieve agreed to settle class action litigation claiming it improperly used consumer reports in making hiring decisions.” Per one summary, “According to a class action lawsuit against the cannabis company, Trulieve violates federal law with its background check policies. Specifically, the company allegedly took adverse employment action against applicants and employees without providing these individuals with notices, summaries of their reports or copies of their reports.” In light of the “employment-related offenses,” “employment screening violation,” and “Fair Credit Reporting Act violation” …  

Trulieve admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay $60,500 to resolve these claims. … The settlement benefits Trulieve applicants and employees who suffered from adverse employment action as a result of a background check obtained since Sept. 17, 2017, who were not provided notice, a summary or a copy of the report. According to the settlement website, there are around 1,000 eligible class members.