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Retail Spotlight – Catalyst El Monte

While many retail dispensaries claim to be about their local community, a chosen few really live by that. Catalyst retail dispensaries and their owner Elliott Lewis definitely walk the walk. They embody their mission statement “Weed for the People” every day with their interactions with everyone from vendors to customers.

On any given day you’re likely to see them voluntarily cleaning up the streets and highway off ramps around their retail stores, uplifting the community, canvassing local neighborhoods gaining support to expand access to cannabis for everyone, or donating employee time to help those in need.

Catalyst Cannabis El Monte is a locally owned and operated cannabis dispensary serving the Rosemead, Monterey Park, Montebello, Alhambra, West Covina, Baldwin Park, and surrounding communities of El Monte.

Location: 12154 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91732

Hours: Daily 9AM-9PM

Website: Catalyst- El Monte

Deals: Daily- Alien Labs and Connected

Weekly- Deals Everyday

Monthly- Kanha Day

The Origins of Catalyst

Like a lot of the California veterans, Catalyst founder and CEO Elliot Lewis has been around the cannabis scene long before it was legal and accepted.

He got his start in Berkeley way back in 1996 as a legacy cultivator. This was during the very early days of California’s medical marijuana program and retail dispensaries we’re even really a concept yet.

“I was one of the first patients at Berkeley Patients Group in 1999, and it was a really cool spot to hangout between then and 2001 when I graduated.” said Lewis. Little did he know at the time how much things would come full circle almost twenty years later.

After spending roughly a decade traveling and then working in real estate, Elliot got back into cultivation in early 2013, running four outdoor farms up north and three indoor spots in SoCal.

From 2016-20, he was also part of a group that owned and operated four Connected retail shops under a brand licensing agreement. In June 2020 they decided to go their separate ways…and Catalyst was born.

El Monte is one of their better performing stores, but it is also Catalyst-led by their attorney and all-around ninja, Damian Martin who wrote the legalization initiative.

Their team gathered a few thousand signatures to qualify it for a ballot. However, in lieu of taking it to the voters, the city council allowed for a qualified measure to be adopted as law by a majority vote of the council. The ordinance has high labor standards and is well-crafted policy on all issues related to cannabis in the city of El Monte.

El Monte was multiple years of work just to break the ban and begin the legalization process, then another year plus to apply, get an approval for a license, and finally open the doors to the public.

Each license process has its own unique story of hard work, policy, and strategy behind it. El Monte is a shining example of changing policy, advancing into headwinds of local control and tough policy in California to forge a path forward for everyone.

Catalyst Cares

Catalyst Care’s mission is to bring our “Weed for the People” philosophy beyond our stores and into our surrounding communities.

Our core values: Labor, Community, Social Equity, Social Justice and Best Prices will drive our direction to bring equity and accessibility to the cannabis industry, specifically to the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs and the criminalization of cannabis.

Are you a local organization that would like to partner with our work in the community? Email/fill out this FORM to get involved.

Community Partners- Weed For Warriors, Life Stream Blood Bank

Employee Spotlight

Holly Kaline, April 2023 Employee of the Month

“Holly has worked for Catalyst for a total of about 2 years. She began her Catalyst career as a budtender at our Santa Ana location where she was top in sales for almost a year straight. Her life journey brought her to Utah, at which point she ended up leaving Catalyst. However, when she returned to Southern California, we were the first company she thought of applying with. We were excited to welcome her back and have her continue her Catalyst career in El Monte. She has been a stellar addition to our team, crushing sales and always finding ways to keep herself busy when she is not with customers. She is a positive addition to our work family and routinely has a smile on her face. Holly has become a model employee for Catalyst, exceeding our expectations in every way. Holly is the definition of an all-star employee! This will likely be the first of many EOM awards for her. Keep up the amazing work, Holly!”

– GM Matt Halden

Future Plans

Catalyst began with a single shop back in 2020, and they have 17 locations open today. Each store has a Catalyst Cares ambassador, which is a huge part of who they are. They make sure as they grow, that they don’t lose that connection to the community, and the focus of always giving back to their local communities, new or old. 

They hope to be up to about 27 California locations by the end of 2023, with future expansion into other states on the horizon as well. That is music to the ears of customers and employees alike, and it means you can expect to see a lot more of #WEEDFORTHEPEOPLE.

Make sure you stop into your local Catalyst location every week for Beard Bros Thursday.

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