Former marijuana dispensary employee sues owners after lab explosion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two men were badly burned in an explosion at a Santa Fe marijuana dispensary in July 2015. Now, nearly two years later, one of those men is suing New Mexicann Natural Medicine where he worked.

“Unfortunately, the worst of the worst happened,” said Ronald Archibeque, the attorney representing Nick Montoya.

In surveillance video from the dispensary, you can see a man named Mark Smith reaching for a door as Nick Montoya is on the floor working on extracting a high concentration of THC.

As soon as the door opens, a fireball sparks in front of Nick Montoya, setting the room on fire.

“He does have severe burns over a certain number, certain portion of his body including his arms, his chest, his legs,” said Archibeque.

He said when Smith opened the door in the lab, it appears something ignited the butane and fumes that were in the room. That’s why Montoya is now suing the business.

“The lab did not have proper ventilation or safety equipment, so essentially, you have two employees working in a very flammable and hazardous situation,” said Archibeque.

He claims New Mexicann had turned a storage unit into the lab the men were working in, it didn’t have fire extinguishers, and the exits were not accessible.

“When the explosion happens, Mr. Montoya attempts to open that door but it did not open, so then he eventually had to go through the ball of fire,” said Archibeque.

They are seeking an amount not yet determined for Montoya’s medical bills and the pain he endured.

“This did scar him in many ways, not just physically but emotionally and psychologically, this is something he’s gonna have to live with for the rest of his life,” said Archibeque.

The other man burned in that explosion, Mark Smith, filed a lawsuit last year for personal injury. He not only is suing the owners of the business, but also Nick Montoya, the other man burned who filed this recent lawsuit.

KRQE News 13 attempted to reach the owners of the New Mexicann Natural Medicine, calls have not yet been returned. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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