It’s nothing new for hash blasters to catch criminal charges. Manufacturing a controlled substance is the big one extractors want to avoid. When there’s been an explosion, they can also face reckless endangerment, arson, and a whole mess of other crimes and misdemeanors that have been pinned, rightly and wrongly, on extraction artists.
But authorities in New Mexico are handing blasters a relatively novel set of charges: workplace safety and hazard infractions. Following a butane explosion that critically injured two men last summer, NewMexiCann Natural Medicine is facing twelve violations of workplace health and safety, with combined fines of $13,500, according to Albuquerque Journal.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted two different investigations against the extraction company over the last 8 months, one looking for health hazards and another for safety hazards.
All told, the safety investigation found the extractors culpable for seven violations all termed “serious,” meaning they had the potential to result in death or serious injury. NewMexiCann was fined $14,500, but only paid an informal settlement of $7,250 this week. Five serious infractions were determined against the company for health hazards, resulting in fines totalling $6,250.
The blast, as you can see from the security video released by the state Environment Department, was brutally violent. The explosion was caused by a leak in one of the butane lines which met with an ignition source, according to the Santa Fe Fire Department.
The blast not only set the room on fire and brought flaming ceiling tiles down on employee Aaron Smith, but also blew the door closed, trapping him inside. Smith received skin grafts on his legs, hands and arms after recovering in a local hospital for three weeks. Nicholas Montoya, the one seen escaping the room just after the blast, suffered a lung infection and had several surgeries to treat his burns.
Despite the disaster, NewMexiCann has been allowed to remain open. Investigators found the workspace free of hazards as of January.