January 2018,  OneVoice CSDA Newsletter

Yolo County Child Support & the Cannabis Task Force

By Natalie Dillon, Director Yolo County DCSS, and James Anderson, Administrative Assistant, Yolo County DCSS

For nearly a year, the Yolo County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has been working with the Department of Agriculture, County Counsel, and the Board of Supervisors during the development of a new marijuana cultivation ordinance. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA or Proposition 64) passed in 2016; a new state law allowing for the private use and grow of marijuana. Fairly strict requirements surrounding the cultivation, packaging, and distribution of marijuana came with Proposition 64. In short, it set deadlines across the state for cities and counties to start governing and regulating an entirely new business for California.

The new ordinance amended Chapter 20 of Title 5 of the Yolo County Code regarding medical marijuana cultivation to do the following: provide clarity in definitions and consistency with state law, add processes for disciplinary action of licensees, allow relocation and colocation of licenses, revise the enforcement and abatement provisions, including increasing fines, providing for the licensing of nursery and processing facilities as part of a pilot program and adding a sunset provision automatically repealing the ordinance unless the Board of Supervisors submits a County tax on commercial marijuana activity to the voters on the June 2018 ballot and the voters approve the tax. This includes language that is specific to compliance with child support.

The Cannabis Task Force was formed to enforce current cultivation law and assist growers and distributors stay in compliance. Considering that as an underground business is now coming into legitimacy, there is a lot of work to do to educate, support and enforce the requirements related to this new industry. This multi-department effort is mainly supported by the Ag Department, the Sheriff’s Office, and our District Attorney’s Office; but several other County departments have been involved, including Child Support Services.

We were fortunate enough to get in close to the ground level while this ordinance was being developed. As a result, there are a few, incredibly helpful, Child Support requirements legal permit holders must follow to maintain their permits. Here’s a look at the language as it appears in the ordinance: 

8)         Child Support Obligations           

  1. Prior to the issuance of an initial or renewal License under this Chapter, and at all times while holding a License, applicants and Licensees shall be current with their monthly child support obligations.  If the applicant or Licensee has an account with past due child support arrears, he/she must have that balance at zero or have verification from the Department of Child Support Services that they have been in and remain in compliance with a court ordered payment plan in order to remain in good standing for a License. 
  2. Licensees shall provide the Task Force a quarterly list of all employees employed by Licensee at any time during the quarter. Reports are due by the 15th of the month following the end of the quarter. (March, June, September, and December).  The list shall include names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers for all employees.
  3. If Licensee uses a payroll withholding process, Licensee must comply with any income withholding order for child support for any employee in Licensee’s employ. In addition, if the income withholding order is for an owner or part-owner of the business, the business shall also comply with the income withholding order and provide necessary tax information if self-employed for purposes of determining accurate child support orders.

The intention is for Yolo County DCSS to work with the growers toward better outcomes for families. Opening a door for more collections and a close relationship with a new, lucrative, business. The ordinance is now in effect and operational aspects of implementation are currently being defined.

Outreach materials are posted on the Employer Page of the Yolo County DCSS website. In addition to the brochure, we have created an online fillable form for cultivators to submit their quarterly employee reports. We anticipate holding workshops for these new employers to assist them in understanding their new requirements. As this industry still operates in the cash economy we also anticipate working with them to make cash Income Withholding Order and regular payments in our lobby, at the TouchPay kiosk, MoneyGram or Pay Near Me.

We will follow up after some time has passed to report on the outcomes of our new project. Stay tuned for more updates to come as we get them!