As the legal cannabis industry continues to grow, so have concerns about workplace safety and health. Tragically, a work-related asthma death in the cannabis industry has brought attention to the potential respiratory hazards that workers may face.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the first known work-related asthma death in the cannabis industry occurred in Massachusetts last year.
In January 2022, a 27-year-old woman died from an asthma attack while working as a production technician in a MA cannabis cultivation and processing facility. She had been working for the facility for seven months and had spent three of those months processing and handling cannabis flower buds. Although this tragedy is the only reported asthma-related death in the cannabis industry to date, several cases of non-fatal respiratory disease among MA cannabis workers have also been reported.