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Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration
 

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ABCA’s office will be closed on Tuesday, April 16 for DC Emancipation Day. We will reopen at 8:30 am on Wednesday, April 17.

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FOIA Request

Overview

The District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, DC Code §§ 2-531-539, provides that any person has the right to request access to records. All public bodies of the District government are required to disclose public records, except for those records, or portions of records, that are protected from disclosure by the exemptions found at DC Code § 2-534

A FOIA request may be made for any public record. This does not mean, however, that the public body will disclose every record sought. Statutory exemptions authorize the withholding of certain public records. When the public body does withhold records or portions of records, it must specify which exemption of the FOIA permits the withholding. FOIA does not require agencies to do research, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request. FOIA only requires the agency to make a reasonable effort to locate already existing records. 

How to Make a Request 

 FOIA request may be submitted online via the DC Government Public FOIA Portal. Requests may also be submitted by mail, fax, or email. However, please note that FOIA requests submitted online will be easier to track and process. 

Describe the record(s) you are seeking as clearly and precisely as possible. In your description, please be as specific as possible with regard to names, dates, places, events, subjects, and other pertinent details that will help the public body to identify the records. The more specific you are about the records you are seeking, the more likely the public body will be able to locate those records. If your request is vague or too broad, we may ask you to be more specific, and this may delay the processing of your request. 

Before submitting a FOIA request, please search ABCA’s website for commonly requested documents, including but not limited to:  

Response Time 

All public bodies are required to respond to a FOIA request within 15 business days (that is, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) following the receipt of a request by the FOIA Officer of the public body that maintains the records you are requesting. Public bodies may extend the time for a response by an additional 10 business days (again, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) for unusual circumstances, as defined by DC Code § 2-532 (d). 

Exemptions from FOIA Disclosure 

The FOIA statute provides that certain categories of documents may be withheld from disclosure. Included among these are documents that relate to law-enforcement activities, documents subject to recognized legal privileges such as the attorney-client and work-product privileges, documents required to be withheld by other laws (federal or District), documents that reflect the internal deliberative processes of the government, and documents the disclosure of which would result in a clearly unwarranted intrusion on personal privacy. For a complete list of the exemptions, please see DC Official Code § 2-534. 

Fees and Waiver of Fees 

There is no initial fee for submitting a FOIA request. However, a public body may charge fees for searching, reviewing, and reproducing records as provided in 1 DCMR § 408. You may include in your request letter a specific statement limiting the amount of fees you are willing to pay. Please be aware that you may have to pay search and/or review fees even if the search does not locate any responsive records or if records are located but are withheld as exempt. 

You may request a waiver or reduction of fees in your request letter. You must include a statement describing how the requested records will be used to benefit the general public. Pursuant to DC Official Code § 2-532(b), if the public body determines that a waiver or fee reduction is in the public interest, i.e., furnishing the records primarily benefits the general public, a waiver or reduction may be granted.

FOIA Officer

The FOIA Officer is the principal contact point within ABCA for advice and policy guidance on matters pertaining to the administration of FOIA. All requests are handled professionally and expeditiously. ABCA’s FOIA Officer ‘s information is listed below:

Jocelyn De Castro

Reeves Center 2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 400 S, Washington, DC 20009 Washington, DC  20002 Phone:  (202) 442-4423

Email: [email protected]

Domingo Juan

Reeves Center 2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 400 S, Washington, DC 20009 Washington, DC  20002 Phone:  (202) 442-4423

Email: [email protected]

For general FOIA inquiries, please email [email protected].