The new era of legalized cannabis is set to bring many changes to California, with one of them being the potential for marijuana business owners to lose their licenses if they fail to pay child support, according to North Coast Regional Department of Child Support Services Director Lisa Dugan.
“Child support services at the state level has the capacity to revoke all kinds of licenses already: driver’s license, business licenses you would get through [the Department of] Consumer Affairs,” Dugan said. “It’s kind of a heavy enforcement tool.”
While the state is still working to finalize its cannabis licensing and industry rules, Dugan said that cannabis business owners should be prepared to begin working with her department if they need to work out child support payments.
“The last thing we want to do is take away their capacity to earn money,” she said.
Dugan said they have worked with cannabis farmers in the past, but because the commercial industry did not exist, they couldn’t use W-2 and other income documents to determine payments. Sometimes receipts from purchases have been used to determined payment amounts, but Dugan said that was all under the discretion of the state child support services commissioner. Others likely never went through Child Support Services Department at all.
“I know a lot of people are saying we can do it on our own, so I think there are folks in the industry that don’t even realize that we exist,” Dugan said.
The advent of a legalized market will now make it easier to figure out a cannabis business owner’s income, Dugan said.
Dugan is encouraging anyone in the cannabis industry that has to make child support payments to contact the department at 707-441-3232 or visit the state website to open a case online at http://www.childsup.ca.gov/resources/applyforservices.aspx
“We don’t care how you make your money. We just want to help with the finances between mom and dad,” Dugan said.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.