Snoop Dogg Employee Among Ohio Marijuana Festival Judges
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Snoop Dogg Employee Among Ohio Marijuana Festival Judges

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POMEROY, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Marijuana Festival, which is entering its first full year of the state offering recreational marijuana, has selected high-paid judges for its joint-rolling contest.

The Stargazer Cannabis Festival announced in June that it was looking for joint-rolling judges, who will be paid $100 an hour for the July 27 event. Attendees, who organizer Chad Thompson said will be allowed to use their own home-grown recreational marijuana, will enter joints in either classic or artistic competitions.

Thompson revealed details about the judges chosen for the competition on Wednesday to NBC4, including that his team received about 11,000 entries for the opening. Some entries came from places like Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado and Australia.

“In the first three days, we got over 7,000 applications,” Thompson said. “The notifications kept coming in, and it was really overwhelming. … For a few weeks, all we could do was sift through and find the best candidates we could.”

One standout application came from Los Angeles. Thompson said Rana Samarghandi — also known as “Ranagade PerRana” on social media — was an easy choice for one of the judges’ positions. Samarghandi has been earning a salary working as rapper Snoop Dogg’s full-time, professional blunt roller since 2016, according to her interview on the Kyle and Jackie O Show.

“Have you ever seen the Elon Musk and Joe Rogan episode where they’re smoking a blunt? That was her blunt,” Thompson said. “She’s actually from Ohio. … A truly amazing woman who continues to shoot professionally, so we’re honored to have her as a judge. She’ll also be hosting our awards ceremony on Sunday.”

Samarghandi was the only judge Thompson mentioned by name, as two other veteran judges from Michigan — with experience from the Clio Cultivators Cup and the High Times Cannabis Cup — recommended he keep the rest a secret to ensure the integrity of the competition. But he described another judge as a scientist from Ohio who ran one of the first testing labs for the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Even though he had no real professional experience or evaluation experience, we were very impressed with his scientific approach to process analysis, so we hired him,” Thompson said.

The group of selected judges is rounded out by another professional joint-roller based in Ohio. Thompson said choosing him was an “obvious” choice. Like Samarghandi, he was paid to roll joints for people in the state.

“We had to go on Instagram to find pictures of the joints that the pro skater had described,” Thompson said. “And when we did, we were just blown away. … I thought to myself, if he’s not a judge and he’s in the competition, he’s definitely going to win.”

Raw, the rolling paper manufacturer, also threw in prizes for the contest winners. Thompson said those, too, will remain a secret until the festival begins.

As Stargazer approaches in late July, Thompson also shared an update on the tickets available for purchase on the festival website, noting that his band is nearly sold out, with a price hike coming for those who remain.

“There are only a few hundred tickets left, so we will be raising the price the week before the festival. Tickets will go up to $100 for general admission,” Thompson said. “It will be the current price of $80 for a very limited time.”

Stargazer wasn’t the only event scheduled in the state for the inaugural year of recreational marijuana. A separate Pennsylvania company, Zick Productions, had planned the Ohio Cannabis Festival for late August at the Summit County Fairgrounds. But local government officials and Zick questioning its compliance with state marijuana law led to its cancellation in June. None of the event organizers have said they will allow retailers to sell recreational marijuana, as the state Division of Marijuana Control is still working through the approval process for a select group of businesses.

Thompson, however, has previously said that Stargazer will allow personal marijuana use. And vendors will be able to sell federally legal cannabis seeds that customers can use to legally grow their own plants in Ohio.