Investigation underway into death of Holyoke cannabis cultivation employee

An investigation is underway into the death of a cannabis cultivation employee in Holyoke.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - An investigation is underway into the death of a cannabis cultivation employee in Holyoke.

We’ve confirmed that back in early January, a female employee’s death has been tied to her job in a grow room at Trulieve, located on North Bridge Street.

According to a report filed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) while “filling pre-rolls, she said she couldn’t breathe. Not being able to breathe marijuana kief [dust] at 11:00 p.m. On January 7, 2022, an employee was grinding cannabis flowers, and packaging ground cannabis in pre-rolls. The employee could not breathe and was killed, due to the hazards of ground cannabis dust.”

Trulieve identified that employee to us as Lorna McMurrey. She died in the hospital in January after allegedly inhaling marijuana dust while packaging pre-rolls. The Holyoke Fire Department confirmed to Western Mass News that they responded to a call on January 7th around 11 p.m. Captain David Rex said in part, quote:

“That call is apparently under investigation by the Medical Examiner and by police.”

McMurrey was working at the Trulieve facility on North Bridge Street in Holyoke that night when the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports she had trouble breathing and later died.

Western Mass News has learned that OSHA has filed three citations against Trulieve related to lack of appropriate training and available safety information for hazardous chemicals. Those violations totaled more than $35,000 in fines, which Trulieve is contesting.

A spokesperson for Trulieve told us in part, quote:

“Our hearts go out to Ms. McMurrey’s family, friends, and colleagues as the circumstances around her passing have recently resurfaced, resulting in their having to re-experience their loss.

Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we are not going to provide any details as to the specifics of that day. However, OSHA conducted a thorough investigation of the Holyoke facility. PPE was available onsite. They tested the air quality throughout the facility and the samples were all well below acceptable ranges. OSHA did issue citations related to communication standards and Trulieve has contested those findings.

We cherish and value all of the 9,000 employees who make Trulieve a family and the safety of our team members is paramount to our core values.”

The Hampden District Attorney’s Office told us that there is no active criminal investigation into McMurrey’s death.

We have reached out to the attorney for McMurrey’s family on this, but have not yet heard back.