The story of RAW
RAW is an American brand of rolling papers introduced in 2005. The rolling papers are made from hemp and considered to be the world’s first “vegan” rolling papers. They are designed to be used for smoking tobacco and marijuana.
In 1993, Josh Kessleman sold all of his possessions and started a small smoke shop named Knuckleheads in Gainesville, Florida which imported specialty rolling papers from Europe and sold smoking paraphernalia. In 1996, Kesselman accidentally sold a bong to a woman whose father worked for the US government. Kesselman was subsequently raided and placed under house arrest. Later that year, Kesselman moved to Arizona to start a smoke shop supply and distribution company called HBI.
By 1997, the business was expanding. Kesselman met the owner of an old rolling paper factory in Spain’s Alcoy region who looked to create and sell new products. Kesselman joined and later developed two brands, Juicy Jay’s, which were flavored papers, and Elements, which is similar to rice papers.
In 2004, Kesselman made a $1 million investment to a supplier of natural, unprocessed and unbleached hemp fiber, which could be marketed as “vegan” papers. The concept was successful and RAW became the first company to offer “vegan” papers. In 2005, RAW started mass production.
RAW is currently among the most popular rolling papers. Wiz Khalifa dedicated a song to the brand, titled “Raw.” Mary Schumacher of The Fresh Toast recommended RAW rolling papers to people who smoke cannabis.