RAW and it's other brands such as Elements, Juicy Jay and DLX are going to have slightly different packaging come spring time. This comes after a competitor Republic Brands took RAW to court claiming their packaging had false information on it. They also claimed the “RAW Foundation”, RAW's charitable foundation, is non-existent.
On January 31st the court ruled in Republic's favour by ordering RAW distributor HBI International to stop making certain claims about their products and “immediately” cease manufacturing, ordering, or replenishing its inventory with goods that fail to conform to the court’s order.
• That HBI and/or RAW operate(s) or contributes its funds or sales proceeds to a charitable entityor foundation of any kind referred to as the "RAW Foundation" or making reference to the"RAW Foundation" in text or images;
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are "unrefined;"
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made with natural hemp gum, or that the adhesiveused in RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers is made from or contains hemp;
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are, or ever were, the world's first or world's onlyorganic (or organic hemp) rolling papers;
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling paper booklets are made in Alcoy, Spain;
• That RAW Organic Hemp pre-rolled rolling-paper cones are made in Alcoy, Spain;
• That the bulk paper ("bobbins") used to make RAW Organic Hemp rolling paper products ismade in Spain;
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made in Alcoy Spain, the birthplace of rollingpapers; and
• HBI shall not use on its packaging a "stamp" including the use of the word Alcoy or referring toAlcoy.
• That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made using wind power or are powered by wind;
• That HBI uses or used the center of the hemp stalk for its RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers;
• That HBI or Joshua Kesselman invented rolling paper pre-rolled cones;
• That the OCB Organic Hemp papers are knock-offs, "RAWnabees", copies, or fake versions ofRAW.
The Court has given HBI until March 2nd 2023 to cease selling, promoting, distributing, shipping, or delivering RAW Organic Hemp products that contain these statements. Additionally, they ordered HBI may not promote, sell, distribute, ship or deliver products under its other brands (e.g., Elements, DLX, Skunk, and Juicy Jays) sold in packaging including an Alcoy stamp after May 31st 2023.
There's been much discussion about this court case amongst the smoking community over thelast few weeks. Some people view this as RAW being sued by a competitor over minor technicalities while others have stated their newly found distrust for RAW and founder Josh Kesselman.
For me personally, the “answer” to this discourse – like many – is somewhere in the middle. I do not view these court cases as a petty competitor trying to sink the industries battleship.
There were some significant things brought to light here.
The RAW Foundation being non-existent, the Organic Hemp papers not really being “unrefined” and the paper factories not even slightly being powered by wind. These are all things RAW advertised for positive PR and it's important any false claims like these are caught, protecting consumers in the future from false advertising.
With all of this being said, I don't think it's time to bring out the pitchforks. These court orders are specifically in regards to the Organic Hemp paper line by RAW. To discredit the entire RAW brand and their hundreds of products over these new discoveries just isn't feasible.
It's important to point out this whole ordeal may not be over. Josh Kesselman has stated in the comments section of his Instagram posts that “Big co vs my little co - case isn’t over yet & I’ve been advised absolutely not to comment! I just can’t yet sorry. More will be revealed”. The “case isn't over yet” part is particularly interesting as this may suggest HBI's intentions are to further advance this case to the next level of court.