Republic Brands

Republic Brands Obtains Injunction; Federal Court Orders HBI International to Change its RAW® Organic Hemp Rolling Paper Packaging and Promotions

March 29, 2024
3 mins read
  • Jury finds HBI engaged in unfair competition and violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act through its rolling paper packaging and promotional activities.
  • Federal Court orders HBI to cease promoting, selling, distributing, shipping, and delivering certain products that are sold in packaging including Alcoy Spain stamp, and cease making other promotional statements.
  • HBI ordered to cease making claims that it contributes its funds or sales proceeds to a “non-existent charitable foundation” referred to as the “RAW Foundation.”

GLENVIEW, Ill., Feb. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Republic Brands, a leading distributor of rolling papers and premium smoking accessories, has obtained a permanent injunction in a federal lawsuit against Defendant HBI International requiring HBI to cease making claims about its RAW® Organic Hemp rolling papers.

On January 31, 2023, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois permanently enjoined HBI from making certain claims about its products and ordered HBI to “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®, Elements®, Juicy Jays®, Pay-Pay®, and Skunk®, engaged in unfair competition and violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act through its packaging and promotional activities.

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 because in its December 6, 2022 ruling, the Court found that no such foundation even existed despite HBI’s prior promotional claims.

Additionally, HBI for more than a decade has marketed its papers as having been made by artisanal craftsman in “Alcoy, Spain” and referring to Alcoy as the “birthplace of rolling papers.” HBI claimed that its RAW® papers receive the “Spanish Alcoy Paper Blessing” and affixed an “Alcoy stamp” to some of its products.

However, in a January 19, 2023 ruling, the Court found that “HBI makes no rolling paper in Alcoy, Spain whatsoever.” In its permanent injunction order, the Court enjoined HBI from stating or implying that its RAW® Organic Hemp booklets or cones are made in Alcoy and further ordered that “HBI shall not use on its packaging a ‘stamp’ including the use of the word Alcoy or referring to Alcoy.”

The order permanently prohibits HBI and its personnel from making any statement or communication, or engaging in any promotion or advertising activity that states, implies, or suggests:

  • That HBI and/or RAW operate(s) or contributes its funds or sales proceeds to a charitable entity or 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 adhesive used 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 only organic (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 is made in Spain;
  • That RAW Organic Hemp rolling papers are made in Alcoy Spain, the birthplace of rolling papers; and
  • HBI shall not use on its packaging a “stamp” including the use of the word Alcoy or referring to Alcoy.
  • 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 of RAW.

In its January 31, 2023 permanent injunction, the Court ordered HBI to cease promoting, selling, distributing, shipping, or delivering products that contain the statements after March 2, 2023 for RAW® Organic Hemp. In addition, after May 31, 2023, HBI may not promote, sell, distribute, ship or deliver products under its other brands (e.g., Elements®, DLX®, Skunk®, Pay-Pay®, and Juicy Jays®) sold in packaging including an Alcoy stamp.

About Republic Brands
The world’s leading rolling company, Republic Brands holds the most extensive portfolio in the category including OCB®, JOB®, e-z wider®, DRUM®, Premier®, Gambler®, and TOP® brands. Republic Brands is part of a family-owned company that is known for innovations such as sustainable bamboo, hemp and flax fiber papers and cones, its natural acacia gum, and internationally-recognized ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 and GMP standards.

Republic Brands remains committed to a level playing field where all parties act in good faith and engage in honest marketing to customers and consumers.

For more information about Republic Brands, please visit www.republicbrands.com.

Republic Brands Media Contact:
Lisa Weser
Trailblaze
RepublicBrands@Trailblaze.co

Republic was represented at trial by Charles S. Bergen (cbergen@rtglaw.com), Peter S. Roeser (proeser@rtglaw.com) and Matthew D. Tanner of Roeser Tanner & Graham LLC.

SOURCE Republic Brands

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