Keeping Wall Street At Bay: RAW Rolling Papers' Josh Kesselman Dreams Of Taking His Company Public – But Only For Real Fans To Invest In It


Josh Kesselman, founder of RAW Rolling Papers, has a dream: to take his company public in a way that exclusively involves RAW's loyal customer base. “My dream is that we do an IPO, but we do it in a way where you can only buy a share if you scan a barcode or a QR code on the inside of a pack of rolling papers,” he told Benzinga Cannabis in an exclusive interview. This innovative approach aims to keep institutional investors at bay and focus on the community that has supported RAW from the beginning.

A Vision For Community Investment

Kesselman's idea revolves around creating a more inclusive and community-oriented investment model. “That way we can keep it out of the hands of institutional investors and really just have our base, core market be the ones who invest in us,” he said. This method would ensure that the very people who use and love RAW products could benefit financially from the company's success. “If a company does well, the very same people that support us, do well with us, and we literally all get higher together.”

Despite the challenges of implementing such a model, Kesselman remains determined. “There’s no mechanism I know of that could allow me to do what I want to do yet, but that’s the way I want to do it,” he noted. His disdain for traditional Wall Street practices is evident. “I wouldn’t want to have institutional investors like a guy in Wall Street smoking a cigar, buying or shorting my stock. I really want it to be something where it’s actually our people that are the only ones that can invest.”

Seeking Solutions For RAW’s IPO

Kesselman is open to ideas and collaboration to make his dream a reality. “Maybe someone in your audience can actually tell me how to do what I want to do,” he mused. His ultimate goal is to create a lasting legacy. “I’d love to craft a legacy that is something that is truly legendary, man. Like the kind of stuff that we’ll be talking about eons from now.”

Kesselman first discussed his unique vision for a RAW IPO during a session at the CWCB Expo in New York, where he spoke with Tim Seymour of CNBC. This conversation was initially reported by Debra Borchardt of Green Market Report, highlighting Kesselman’s desire to involve only RAW’s loyal consumers in the IPO process.

This vision aligns with Kesselman's desire to remain true to the RAW brand and its community. “If you’re going public, then I want to bring in the public, not just go public to take their money. I think about it this way: Let’s turn this into more of a public brand where we actually all benefit from it, not just some short seller guy smoking a cigar.”

A Personal Mission

For Kesselman, this dream is deeply personal. He wants to ensure that RAW’s loyal customers are the ones who reap the rewards of the company’s success. “I hope people are good with my dream. I hope they see the vision,” he said. His commitment to keeping RAW's public offering community-focused is unwavering. “I want to bring my people in. Imagine if you ran a publicly traded company where all of your shareholders were your fans who consumed your product. Imagine what that would be like.”

Kesselman's passion for his product and his community shines through in his words and actions. As RAW continues to grow, his innovative vision for an IPO could set a new standard for how companies engage with their most dedicated supporters.

Image: Photo courtesy of RAW, edited by Benzinga.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsIPOsTop StoriesExclusivesJosh KesselmanRawRaw Rolling Papers
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