Angel Law Helps Greater Los Angeles Communities Alliance Fend Off Proliferation of Industrial-Scale Marijuana Production Facilities in El Monte

This month, Angel Law helped the Greater Los Angeles Communities Alliance, a grassroots citizen organization in the San Gabriel Valley, take its fight against a proliferation of industrial-scale marijuana cultivation, production, and distribution facilities in El Monte to the ballot box.

On February 6, we submitted a referendum petition with the El Monte city clerk, signed by over 5,700 voters, demanding that the El Monte city council repeal an ordinance it passed in January, signing on to a controversial development agreement for a 71,000 ft² marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution operation near a quiet residential community and local schools.

On February 19, the council approved another large industrial cannabis complex — six buildings totaling over 130,000 ft². We filed legal comments putting the council on notice that its actions violate the federal Controlled Substances Act and, due to its refusal to disclose the direct and cumulative adverse environmental impacts of its deals with commercial marijuana producers, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Adverse impacts include substantially adverse effects on human health and safety, among other things, due to explosions and fires that use of volatile chemicals has caused at cannabis facilities and increasing burdens on public services.

On February 19, we also filed with the city a notice of intent to circulate an initiative petition to ban all commercial cannabis activities in El Monte. Once passed, the city council will no longer be able to ignore massive citizen protests at council meetings or try to wear down the residents by forcing them to fight each marijuana project in piecemeal fashion.

Read more about the referendum in the Los Angeles Times article “Marijuana production faces ‘war’ from Asian-American communities in San Gabriel Valley” by Matthew Ormseth (2/7/2019).

Read more about the February 19 developments in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune article “El Monte approves 2nd marijuana project, but opposition is ready to fight” by Chris Lindahl (2/19/2019).