WASHINGTON: Tom Lauerman, universally known as “Farmer Tom,” is a well-known and beloved figure in Washington’s cannabis community. Attend any cannabis event in the Evergreen State – from farmer’s market to the steps of the Statehouse in Olympia – and you are likely to see Farmer Tom – long flowing Santa beard and floppy hippie hat – front and center representing the cause.
These days, when he’s not working with his business partners on an upcoming line of “organic” soils and nutrients, Farmer Tom can be heard espousing the benefits of establishing best practices and standards for the cannabis industry – advocating for everything from safer pest management and testing practices to the rights of his fellow workers in weed.
Farmer Tom is a pioneer in working with the Federal Government to create workplace safety standards for the cannabis industry. Last fall, he and his wife Paul invited the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to visit his medical marijuana farm in Vancouver, WA. The feds spent several days on the farm reviewing for the first time the working conditions on a real cannabis farm. The visit garnered quite a bit of attention for the media-friendly Farmer Tom, including a feature in this month’s DOPE Magazine.
Workplace safety “runs in the family” for Farmer Tom. “My Grandfather was head of HR at both Republic Steel and Covair and was on the first national safety commission,” Lauerman told MJ News Network. “I handled OSHA paperwork and meetings while in the corporate world and worked with the Union drafting a workplace health and safety manual.”
As part of his mission to raise awareness of safety issues among leaders of the legal cannabis industry, Farmer Tom will be a featured presenter at a “Cannabis Industry Safety Night” panel discussion on May 26th, an event sponsored by the MJBA Portland, and CannaGuard Security. Joining Tom will be environmental, health & safety expert Sally Koch, Indy Safety; Paul Equall, Life Safety Corp; and Mike Sotelo, CEO of Consolidar Networks.
Farmer Tom has plans to publish a cannabis workplace health and safety manual soon. “I’m working with a few groups developing workplace health and safety standards,” he explained, “and have been approached by Washington state university on doing continued research in the Cannabis world.”
Stay tuned here.