Basalt town council members violated Colorado's open meetings law in 2016 when they used email to discuss a retail marijuana resolution and other matters, a judge ruled Monday.

The council members engaged in "electronic discussions of public business absent public notice and without opportunity for the public to observe and participate in the process," wrote Eagle County District Court Judge Russell Granger.

"Colorado's open meetings law is unambiguously clear: When three or more elected members of a local board, committee or commission discuss public business – whether it be in person or by email, phone, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or any method of communication – they must provide the public with notice and an opportunity to attend or observe that discussion," said Ballard Spahr attorney Steve Zansberg, who represented Basalt resident Theodore Guy in a lawsuit against the town. "Judge Granger's ruling strongly reaffirms that principle."

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