New RAW Seeds Fellowship to be awarded to legacy cannabis operators who built the cannabis industry

New York, NY – August 1, 2023 – RAW Rolling Papers (BBK/HBI), the independent international brand of high-quality rolling papers and smoking innovations, announced today a donation of $100,000 to the The JUSTÜS Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to facilitating the entry of legacy cannabis operators to the legal cannabis market. The RAW Seeds Fellowships aim to provide opportunity to legacy cannabis operators – those involved in the cannabis industry prior to its legalization – who are trying to navigate the new, legal market.

The RAW Seeds Fellowship grants will be awarded to three Legacy Operators who were negatively impacted by the justice system due to cannabis laws. To be eligible to apply for the fellowship, a Legacy Operator will be defined as, “An individual who commercialized Cannabis for the majority of their income, or sacramentally or ceremonially distributed Cannabis, outside of the legal framework, during the period of prohibition, predating legalization by 5 years.” The three grants will be up to $20,000 per awardee and will be used to start legal cannabis businesses.

The JUSTÜS Foundation is committed to helping legacy cannabis operators transition into the global legal cannabis market. The JUSTÜS Foundation educational programs include: “The Woman Warrior Initiative,” “Safe Smoke Sesh Series,” “Octogacy,” “Mental Health First “The Revolutionary Cannabis Series,” “Cannabis Accounting Roundtables,” and “JUSTÜS JUMP Ins.”

“We take great pride in supporting and empowering the pioneers who laid the foundation of this industry,” said RAW’s founder Josh Kesselman. “As the industry undergoes a significant transformation, emerging from the shadows and embracing legality, it is crucial that those who built it from the ground up are the beneficiaries, along with the communities they come from. While major companies are rushing to take advantage of new laws legalizing cannabis, we need to support the small entrepreneurs who are the true lifeblood of this industry.”

“We are in the barrier removal business at The JUSTÜS Foundation,” said Scheril Murray Powell, Chief Operating Office of The JUSTÜS Foundation. “Legacy Integration is the fast track to diversifying the Legal Cannabis Market. By giving Legacy Cannabis Operators the tools and resources needed to succeed, we contribute to the creation of a robust, compliant, inclusive, and high performing industry which provides health and wellness to society. By empowering these undervalued Cannabis Business Executives, we propel them to the front lines of the health equity movement and the creation of economic growth for jurisdictions around the world. The JUSTÜS Foundation outreach and support of underserved communities such as Rastafari community, Social Equity Participants, and Legacy Operators is unprecedented.”

“The men and women who carried cannabis through the dark years of Prohibition should be treated like heroes—not criminals,” said Steve DeAngelo, founder of The JUSTÜS Foundation. “Instead of being excluded from the legal cannabis industry, legacy operators should be warmly welcomed into it. They should be honored as the brave pioneers and accomplished experts they truly are, not ostracized or excluded because they have been convicted for breaking unjust laws that should never have been passed. These grants will help return opportunities to legacy cannabis entrepreneurs that shouldn’t have been taken away from them in the first place. We look forward to seeing our grant recipients thrive and rise, to become leaders of the industry, and to inspire and assist other members of the legacy community to follow their example. Together, we will build a cannabis industry we can truly be proud of.”

Also included in the program, up to $15,000 may be awarded in smaller grants to multiple legacy operators. This grant will also be used to launch legal cannabis businesses, or to facilitate a career in the legal cannabis industry.

The grant window will open on August 1st. Those eligible for the RAW Seeds fellowship grants can read more about the rules of the contest at www.RAWJUSTUS.com. Applications will be accepted through August 31.

To keep the joint rolling, awardees will be encouraged to “pay it forward” with their own similar donations upon achieving success in the legal cannabis industry.

About JUSTÜS Foundation

The JUSTÜS Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring and facilitating the entry of legacy (pre-legalization) cannabis operators to the legal cannabis market across global markets. The organization was founded by long time cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo. Our COO, Scheril Murray Powell Esquire currently leads the Foundation and manages all daily operations including license application support, career development/placement, and post licensing support. The scope of The JUSTÜSFoundation’s work is global and we fight for the legacy community because If legacy operators are not welcomed into the legal market we will not see an optimized, diverse legal market. The organization was founded in October 2021 in response to the following two related trends: the exclusion of the legacy cannabis operators from the legal industry and the persistence of a dual market following legalization, which results in a delay in consumer migration to the legal cannabis market.

To learn more about our work and make a donation to The JUSTUSFoundation visit our website at www.justus.foundation or text “LegacyLove” to 801801

About RAW

RAW is a fiercely independent global brand of high-quality rolling papers and smoking innovations. The company produces natural, unbleached rolling papers that are used by millions of people worldwide. RAW’s Classic papers – its most popular line – is loved by veterans and novices alike. Through RAW’s humanitarian efforts, named RAW Giving, it has donated more than $2.5 million in direct cash contributions, plus in-kind contributions of about $200,000 to a wide variety of charities – from clean water in Ethiopia, homeless pets in a no-kill rescue shelter, planting hundreds of thousands of trees, and more. To learn more, visit rawgiving.com.

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