The Real Deal Los Angeles

Community backlash could nip pot growers in the buds

El Monte faces lawsuits after approving production site
February 08, 2019 04:09PM

Neighborhood groups are protesting the development of a marijuana production site at 4400 Temple City Boulevard in El Monte (Credit: Google Maps and Flickr)

The thought of living near a marijuana production site in El Monte hasn’t grown on residents as much as lawmakers expected.

Facing a backlash, El Monte may soon have to rescind a recently approved deal for a new marijuana facility or put the project up for a popular vote, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Residents this week submitted a petition for a referendum of the development. And Temple City and Rosemead are both suing El Monte, alleging it minimized impacts and understated the strain it would have on public resources.

If the project isn’t rescinded — or if a popular vote fails to stop the it — opposing groups said they will attempt to recall the officeholders responsible.

The project could set a precedent in the larger debate over the marijuana industry, as municipal leaders wait to see how the new market plays out. The state issued 2,160 cultivation licenses last year after projecting at least 5,000.

In December, El Monte approved the 71,658-square-foot facility at 4400 Temple City Boulevard to bring in new revenue. Teresa Tsai, the developer of the cultivation center, must pay El Monte $828,700 the first year, $955,420 the second, and $1.15 million in the third. She expects the project to take six months to a year to complete.

But opponents argue it will weaken the city and set an unwanted precedent. The planning commission this week approved a second facility next to the first one that would be twice its size. [LAT] – Gregory Cornfield