RizLa+ (French pronunciation: [ʁi lakʁwa], from Riz Lacroix), known in English as Rizla /ˈrɪzlə/, is a brand of rolling papers and other related paraphernalia in which tobacco, or marijuana, or a mixture, is rolled to make handmade joints and cigarettes.
Rizla rolling papers are available in a range of thicknesses, indicated by the colour of the packaging, and sizes. The large, cardboard areas are often used for making roaches for spliffs.
Pierre Lacroix was inspired to begin the production of rolling papers when, in the year 1532, he traded some paper for a bottle of fine champagne and realized their potential market.
The company breaks out
In 1660, having perfected the first paper specifically designed for rolling, Philip Lacroix began production. Despite the early success, it was not until 76 years later in 1736 that the family acquired their own paper-mill, purchased by François Lacroix, founder of the Lacroix Rolling Paper company. In 1796 Napoleon granted the Lacroix company a licence to produce rolling papers for his troops.
In 1865, a change was made to the formula—the tissue previously used in the papers was replaced with paper made from rice. It is this change to rice paper that caused the name "RizLa+" to finally emerge: a combination of the French word Riz (meaning rice) with "La" and a cross, representing the Lacroix family name, which literally means "The Cross".
The Rizla+ brand in the 20th century and beyond
RizLa produced some of the first flavoured papers in 1906, with the release of menthol and strawberry. The first Rizla Blue fine-weight rolling papers were produced in 1910, with thinner paper and a more pronounced tobacco flavour. RizLa also released one of the first rolling machines.
In 1942, the RizLa brand revolutionized the world of rolling papers when the Lacroix brothers acquired a patent for applying gum to the edge of rolling papers. This new feature solidified Rizla's position as a leader in the rolling paper industry, placing them at the top of the market.
In 1977, thirty-three years after the brand name change, Rizla+ released the first of their King Size rolling papers.
In 1978 Fernand Painblanc took control of Rizla+, bringing the tradition of Lacroix family ownership to an end.
The liquorice-flavoured paper was released in 1981. In 1986, Rizla began rapid growth and large-scale advertising. One successful advertising campaign in 1986 was a popular series of calendars and posters. A café franchise, which was featured at various concerts in the UK in 1996, was also extremely popular. In 1997 they produced a limited edition King Size Rizla+ Purple medium-weight, extra width, king size rolling paper, in celebration of the Phoenix music festival.
In 1997 Rizla+ was sold to Imperial Tobacco.
In 1998 Rizla+ continued their string of expansion and large-scale advertising, going so far as to release their own line of clothing, sold at their cafés. In 2002 Rizla closed a deal with Suzuki and became one of their top motor-bike racing sponsors, forming the Rizla-Suzuki racing team. The Caterham Superlight R500 sports is available with Rizla markings following its launch in collaboration with Rizla-Suzuki.
Rizla+ added a new paper to its line up in 2003, with the introduction of the Rizla+ Silver, Ultra-Thin, King Size rolling paper. In 2003 the UK Advertising Standards Agency upheld a complaint that Rizla+ had alluded to their products' association with cannabis in a print advertisement that bore the caption "twist and burn".
In 2004, two more types of Rizla+ papers were released; one, the Rizla Red, Medium Weight, Slim paper is exclusive to the United Kingdom. The other variety released in 2004 was the Rizla+ Silver (regular size) Ultra-Thin rolling paper.
In 2002 Imperial Tobacco closed Rizla+'s historic factory at Mazères-sur-Salat near Saint-Gaudens (south of France). In September 2005 Imperial Tobacco announced the closure of Rizla+'s Treforest factory at Pontypridd near Cardiff in South Wales with a loss of 134 jobs. After the closure of the factory, Rizla+ production is now concentrated at Wilrijk, Belgium.
Since 2006, Rizla+ also sponsors the Suzuki MotoGP bike under Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team, currently ridden by Álvaro Bautista.
- Lily Allen mentions Rizla in her 2014 song "Our Time".
- Natalia Kills mentions Rizla in her 2013 song "Problem".
- English folk singer Nick Drake's first album, Five Leaves Left, took its title from a warning which was included in packs of Rizla papers in the 1960s indicating that only five papers remained. More recently, this warning has been replaced by a ten-paper warning.
- Reggae artist Pablo Gad's song, Hard Times, mentions Rizla papers in its hook. The lyric, which has become recognizable in its own right, goes, "Say when I was a yout [sic] I used to burn collie weed in a Rizla—used to burn it in a Rizla." This line has since been sampled by electronic artists such as The Prodigy, Ed Solo & Skool of Thought, Krafty Kuts, and Matta.
- 1985 album Whatever Happened to Jugula? by Roy Harper and Jimmy Page features an unravelled orange Rizla pack as cover art.
- In Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and the United Kingdom, Rizla is genericized trademark name for rolling paper.
- 1993 12-inch single I Ain't Goin' Out Like That by Cypress Hill features an unravelled orange Rizla pack as cover art.
- In the British TV series Peep Show, Season 6, episode 4, 'The Affair' (2009), Mark assures Jez on the phone that he bought his Rizla papers from the corner shop.