NETA, best known for its popular Brookline dispensary, confirmed that a worker at its large cultivation and processing center in Franklin and another at its Northampton dispensary were diagnosed this week with the deadly, fast-spreading disease. The Franklin facility, where the company grows various strains of cannabis and processes the plants into edibles and other products, employs more than 400 people.
The sick Franklin employee, “whom we will continue to support in every way we can, practiced excellent public health and social responsibility by self-identifying symptoms, notifying their manager upon feeling ill, pursuing COVID-19 testing, taking appropriate hygienic precautions, and self-quarantining,” a NETA spokesman said in a statement, adding that the Northampton worker had done the same.
While recreational marijuana sales have been shuttered by Governor Charlie Baker because of the coronavirus pandemic, medical marijuana operators such as NETA (which also serves the recreational market) have been allowed to continue to serve registered patients as an “essential” healthcare business.
NETA said that, per state protocols, local boards of health and the state Department of Public Health had been notified of the positive test, and insisted there was no chance the Franklin worker had contaminated products made by NETA.
The spokesman also said the company was protecting workers appropriately, including by hiring a contractor to “deep-clean” the Franklin building after learning of the sick employee, and that many employees had told management they agreed NETA’s efforts were sufficient.
However, a number of workers at the Franklin facility told the Globe that they are worried they could have been exposed to their ill coworker, including at a building-wide appreciation breakfast last week at which numerous employees were served French toast from a common table.