Cartel Money was originally a clothing brand, according to founder Brandon Maravilla. Even now as they’ve moved to selling weed the fashion element is a big part of what the brand represents.
Once Cartel Money teamed up with the Backpack Boyz, the whole crew now reps merch for both brands.
Shopping the Pop Up
When we met up with the team at their popup at Secret Sesh in Los Angeles, Cartel Money just dropped several new strain-inspired merch designs.
Brandon said that they dropped tees featuring strain names Lemon Cherry Dulce and White Cherry Dulce, plus for the girls, Bubblegum Dulce and Whipped Cream Dulce crop tops. “Summertime’s coming,” Brandon said.
“Any time we drop a strain, we want to hit ’em with new merch,” Brandon said.
Cartel Money keeps that relationship between the clothing and the weed strong.
“The way I move is, when I drop a new strain I like to drop a new clothing line. I like putting my stamp on it,” he said.
Now he’s expanded the brand to include more luxury accessories.
“Real genuine leather, no one came in the game with those,” Brandon said. “I got sling bags coming. I got these keychain pouches that look nice. We got the smell-proof backpacks, they’re amazing, but now we got the leather backpacks.”
He’s not afraid to compete with the best names in fashion.
“For big dogs that got big money that want to buy a leather backpack from Gucci or Louis, we hit em with the Cartel Money leather stamp backpack,” Brandon said.
The Beginning of CMC
Cartel Money Clothing was formed seven years ago by Brandon with the help of his right hand man Santos. Brandon is from Hollister, CA, a small town in San Benito county.
Brandon says that he decided to launch a clothing line as a way to restart his life after encountering trouble with the law.
“Sitting in lockdown in 2015, I was like, ok, I don’t want to do this anymore,” Brandon said. “I need to think of a clothing brand.”
When he got out he started Cartel Money Clothing and says he worked hard pushing the brand through pop ups, events, car shows, and anywhere he could find an audience.
Seeing the opportunities in the recreational weed space, he decided he wanted to get into cannabis. He says he started knocking on doors and visiting grows until he found a connection with the brand Headstash and launched his first Dulce strain.
CMC Meets the Backpack Boyz
By early summer of 2021, Cartel Money signed on with the Backpack Boyz when he saw that they could offer more strains and more quantity.
The brands also complimented each other culturally.
“We brought the street life back into what we got. So do the Backpack Boyz. We’re just street dudes,” Brandon said.
He says that bringing his background means that people like him are able to participate in a safe and legal industry.
“The streets, that’s where we come from. We all did time. This is what we all dreamed of. And now we can do it legit,” he said.
As with the Backpack Boyz, Cartel Money’s approach to weed is quality small batches. “We want to keep it exclusive. We’re never going to be commercial,” Brandon said.
Now that Cartel Money is part of the Backpack Boyz team, they are one in the same.
“It’s straight partnered up, we’re Cartel Money and the Backpack Boyz. The whole team is all family,” he said.
As for the relationship between weed and cannabis, Santos says, “it’s culture.” He saw that Brandon was on to something when they connected a few years ago.
“I told him when I first met him that he’s going places,” Santos said.
Brandon says that Santos encouraged his ideas and helped him imagine what success would look like.
“M***fucker planned it all out, and look where we’re at now. We’re top sellers, we’re killing it, and people love us.”