In another blow to San Diego’s cannabis industry – and to the California medical marijuana community in general – a Superior Court judge has ruled that the city can refuse to issue pot dispensaries a business tax certificate despite state MMJ laws.
The judge essentially sided with local and federal officials, who have pretty much dismantled the city’s medical cannabis industry by forcing dozens of pot shops to close in recent months. The ruling means that city officials cannot be forced to award pot companies a business state tax license – needed to operate in San Diego – because federal law trumps state medical marijuana legislation. Under federal law, marijuana is still deemed an illegal substance, even though California allows the use and distribution of pot for medical reasions.
The case involves a lawsuit filed by a marijuana delivery service based outside city limits called Wisdom Organics, which was refused a business tax certificate to provide medical marijuana inside San Diego.
In his written opinion, the judge brought up recent moves by the federal government to crack down on medical marijuana in California and other MMJ states, saying the developments signal that federal law outweighs state laws.
“Consequently, issuing a business tax certificate under these circumstances would tend to aid in an unlawful purpose,” the judge wrote in his decision on the matter, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Last year, federal government raids led to the closure of dozens of cannabis dispensaries in San Diego. A judge also recently ruled that landlords can legally boot medical marijuana centers and grow operations from their properties. Combined, the moves have eliminated most of the dispensaries operating in San Diego, and only a handful of medical marijuana centers still exist.
As part of a last-ditch effort to save the San Diego cannabis industry, pot advocates have crafted a proposal that would tax marijuana sales and medical weed businesses as well as create special zones for MMJ companies.