For years, we’ve all been accustomed to RAW’s rustic aesthetic underpinned by a stamped claim on every product that each has been made by artisanal craftsmen in Alcoy, Spain, the “birthplace of rolling papers.”
Well, it turns out this isn’t the case.
RAW’s parent company, HBI International, “makes no rolling papers in Alcoy, Spain whatsoever” reads the opinion of Illinois district judge Thomas Durkin.
Even more bizarrely, the court found that HBI has misled its customers about the existence of the brand’s charitable organization, the RAW Foundation.v
HBI’s charismatic founder and owner, Josh Kesselman, is known for his bombastic claims but surely he wouldn’t go this far? He had previously claimed in a 2021 interview with Forbes that the RAW Foundation has “given away millions of dollars to charity” to dozens of organizations. Was it all a lie?
Not exactly. In a clarifying statement following the court’s ruling that RAW refrain from claiming it donates a portion of its proceeds to a charitable organization called the RAW Foundation, Kesselman admitted that the organization’s name was misleading, and has now been changed to RAW Giving.
That’s because the RAW Foundation has never had charitable status under US law. Instead, as Kesselman says, the RAW Foundation was the means by which the company donated to charitable organizations, such as Trees for the Future, CarbonFund.org, and Wine to Water, among many others.
In his statement, Kesselman also shed some light on RAW’s claim that it is manufactured in Alcoy. While he admits this isn’t strictly true, the rolling papers are in fact made not so far away in “a quaint village in the Alicante Province of Spain” called Benimarfull. How far? About a fifteen minute drive.
As 420 YouTuber Cewpins notes in his commentary on the RAW lawsuit and Kesselman’s response, it’s not like RAW rolling papers were actually being manufactured in China.
Still, there are other aspects to the district court’s permanent injunction against RAW that will continue to raise a few eyebrows.
It has further ordered RAW to refrain from implying in any of its marketing materials, packaging or statements for RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers any of the following:
- That they are “unrefined.”
- That they are the world’s first or only organic hemp rolling papers.
- That they are made from natural hemp gum.
- That they are made using wind power.
- That they are made from the center of hemp stalks.
Plus, the court ordered the company to stop claiming that HBI or Josh Kesselman invented pre-rolled rolling paper cones. So, it appears there are a lot of other dubious claims that RAW have been found guilty of.
To top it all off, RAW is ordered to refrain from referring to its rival OCB Organic Hemp rolling papers as “knock-offs”, “RAWnabees”, or otherwise fake versions of RAW rolling papers.