Jul 15, 2022 - News

FOIA Friday: Marijuana-friendly property records

Illustration of an unlocked padlock made out of a manila folder.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

👋 Welcome back to our weekly public records spotlight. This week, we're digging into the city's plan to sell properties to marijuana businesses.

Why it matters: Property zoned for the cannabis industry is scarce, driving up prices.

  • In response, officials are developing a program to sell city-owned marijuana properties to longtime Detroit residents at a discount.

What's happening: For insight into that program, we filed a public records request May 13 for a list of city-owned properties zoned for cannabis businesses.

Between the lines: Michigan's Freedom of Information Act gives public bodies up to 15 business days to tell the requester whether or not the records will be made available and at what fee, which are reduced for late responses.

  • Two months later, the city has not responded accordingly because the request is still being processed.

💭 Joe's thought bubble: These delays are increasingly common, especially after the pandemic spike in remote work. The public is left with little recourse to get the information legally available to them.

What's next: State Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) tells Axios the Legislature needs to address delays in FOIA response time.

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