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Ohio cannabis festival hiring joint-rolling judges at high hourly rate

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POMEROY, Ohio (WCMH) — As an Ohio cannabis festival prepares for launch, it’s also looking to make multiple hires with a high pay grade.

Chad Thompson, the organizer behind the Stargazer Cannabis Festival, told NBC4 that he was planning to hire multiple judges for the event’s joint-rolling contest on July 27. The festival, weeks away from its inaugural three-day run at Wisteria Campground, is taking place in the first full year that Ohio has legalized recreational marijuana, and a little over a month after the state opened applications for sales at dual-use dispensaries. Thompson launched the job posting online late Monday.

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“There’s two divisions, a classic division and artistic division,” Thompson said. “And in both of those divisions, one of the criteria is, ‘How does it smoke?’ The potential smokability.”

While the classic division will focus on traditional joints, Thompson said the artistic division could see intricately designed joints shaped like “tanks, cars and birds.” He also broke down several other factors the judges would be expected to review, as well as the eyebrow-raising dollar amount offered for their time.

“We’re going to be checking for the draw of the joint and the joint stability, like checking for runs and so forth and all that’s going to go into the judging process,” Thompson said. “And we’re hoping that the pay will be enough to get a large pool of potential candidates. … We are paying $100 an hour, you know, to just smoke joints.”

That hourly rate won’t be for a short span either, according to Thompson. He estimated the judging would take “a couple hours, if not more,” and for that reason the applicants need to be experienced beyond casual users.

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“If they’re somebody who smokes maybe once a month, maybe they might not be the best person,” Thompson said. “But you know, if they’re a pretty regular smoker, I think they’ll be able to handle it.”

Thompson previously clarified that no vendors at the festival — spanning July 26 to 28 — would be selling recreational marijuana, and a farmer’s market at the event would mainly sell hemp-derived products. However, he did note recreational marijuana will still have a presence at Stargazer in other forms. Vendors will be allowed to sell cannabis seeds, legal even at the federal level, and with which Ohioans can grow up to six plants under the state’s current law.

Festival-goers will be allowed to use their homegrown marijuana at the campgrounds as well, including in the joint-rolling contest.

“It’d be completely legal to be homegrown cannabis, or they may roll it with hemp or they may not, I’m not gonna ask,” Thompson said. “I’m sure that there will be attendees that have legal cannabis with THC and will be consuming it, but there’s going to be no person-to-person sales.”

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He also mentioned that while festival tickets are still available online, they have been selling quickly. Thompson told NBC4 that the Stargazer team would have to decide whether to sell door tickets on the weekend of the event “based on capacity,” but did say that they are no longer accepting new food vendor applications.

“If you definitely want to get into Stargazer, you definitely should buy your ticket as soon as possible,” Thompson said. “If you wait, there will be a likely chance you will not get in. I’m getting calls from all over the region.”

Thompson said applicants interested in applying to become joint-rolling judges, or just buying standard tickets, should visit the Stargazer festival website, and scroll all the way to the bottom for a link to the event’s job postings


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