The Supreme Court on Friday took up one of the most contentious issues of the covid-19 pandemic, hearing a series of cases challenging the Biden administration’s authority to require workers to get a covid vaccine or be tested for the virus regularly. The issue in the cases, which challenge rules set in November by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is not directly whether the rules are legal but whether they can take effect while the cases are heard in detail by courts of appeals. The arguments lasted more than 3½ hours. A decision by the justices is expected within days. The OSHA rule says that businesses with more than 100 employees must require their workers to either be vaccinated or wear masks and undergo weekly testing.
In New Mexico, state regulated programs are usually subject to rigorous inspection procedures, ensuring operations adhere to certain standards. After a review of public records by NM Political Report it appears that an often controversial state program may not applying rigorous standards to its participants. Last week the New Mexico Environment Department determined that medical cannabis producer New MexiCann Natural Medicine violated a number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards after an explosion ripped through a facility in Santa Fe last July. Of the seven violations filed with OSHA, three related directly to the work environment that New MexiCann provided for the extraction process. Through a public records request, NM Political Report obtained producer inspection records for a 12 month period that show mostly blank inspection forms for New MexiCann along with other producers around the state.
An explosion ripped through a Santa Fe medical cannabis dispensary last summer, sending two workers to the hospital with severe burns. Months later after an investigation, the New Mexico Environment Department released surveillance video of the explosion. The incident took place while two workers at New MexiCann Natural Medicine were attempting to extract THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, using butane. The butane ignited, and video shows two workers frantically trying to flee the flame-filled room. We’ve embedded the video below, but be warned that it may be difficult to watch for some.