The maker of Raw Rolling Papers will have to pivot production by the end of spring to comply with a federal court order telling the company to stop making false claims about its organic hemp line and a nonexistent charitable foundation.
Raw’s competitor Republic Brands took the company to court alleging that Raw’s labels included false information. The owner of a suite of rolling papers that include OCB and Top branded papers eventially obtained the permanent injunction against RAW’s distributing arm, HBI International.
On Jan. 31, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ordered HBI to stop making certain claims about its products and “immediately” cease manufacturing, ordering, or replenishing its inventory with goods that fail to conform to the court’s order.
The injunction order follows a jury’s verdict that HBI, the distributor of rolling paper brands RAW and Juicy Jays, engaged in unfair competition and violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act through its packaging and promotional activities.
According to the findings, HBI marketed its papers as having been made by artisanal craftsman in “Alcoy, Spain,” referred to Alcoy as the “birthplace of rolling papers,” and affixed an “Alcoy” stamp to some of its products.
However, in a Jan. 19 ruling, the court found that HBI “makes no rolling paper in Alcoy, Spain, whatsoever.”
HBI has also claimed on packaging and in interviews that it contributes its funds and sales proceeds to a 501c charity referred to as the “RAW Foundation,” which the court found in a Dec. 6 ruling to be “nonexistent.”
The court enjoined HBI from continuing to state, imply, or suggest that it operates or contributes funds or sales proceeds to a charitable entity or foundation referred to as the “RAW Foundation” or making reference to the “RAW Foundation” in text or images.
The RAW makers must stop production and sales of all promotions and products that use the Alcoy stamp or references the fake foundation, which happens to be much of the current inventory, by the end of May.
The order also permanently prohibits HBI from making any statement or communication, or engaging in any promotion or advertising activity that states, implies, or suggests that:
- RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are “unrefined;”
- RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made with natural hemp gum, or that the adhesive used in RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers is made from or contains hemp;
- RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are, or ever were, the world’s first or world’s only organic (or organic hemp) rolling papers;
- The bulk paper used to make RAW Organic Hemp rolling paper products is made in Spain;
- RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made using wind power or are powered by wind;
- HBI uses or used the center of the hemp stalk for its RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers;
- HBI or its founder Joshua Kesselman invented rolling paper pre-rolled cones;
- The OCB Organic Hemp papers are knock-offs, “RAWnabees,” copies, or fake versions of RAW.