I’m writing to voice my concern with the Town of Telluride’s conduct concerning its rules and yet another, canceled at the last-minute, public hearing for Green Dragon violations. This hearing was scheduled to take place July 18 concerning Green Dragon’s most recent (of multiple) violations to the Telluride Marijuana Code.

Upon arriving to the scheduled hearing, I was notified that the town had already negotiated with Green Dragon’s attorney and would no longer be conducting the meeting. As such, instead of being afforded the opportunity to participate in a scheduled public hearing, as provided in the Telluride Marijuana Code, I was informed that the meeting was canceled and a “behind- closed-doors” deal was reached.

Needless to say, for the locally-owned marijuana businesses that aided in the development of the Telluride Marijuana Code nearly a decade ago, this is a slap in the face. To my knowledge, these businesses continue to exist without having been cited for any violation since establishing in Telluride. For those of us who have made Telluride/San Miguel County our home and place of business, we have strived to represent our town by offering the highest level of respect and professionalism.

That level of concern, care and commitment to our community doesn’t seem to be a priority for Green Dragon, who have been cited for multiple violations within a two-year period, nor does it seem to be important to the Town of Telluride any longer. What seems to be most important now is who has pockets deep enough for the town to reach in. I wonder if any of the locally-owned cannabis businesses would be afforded, or could afford, the luxury of dodging, not one but two, public hearings for unlawful activity, as described in the code.

With the town taking the “money talks” approach, and in regards to the level of integrity being upheld for their own regulations, we will end up with more cannabis businesses in Telluride that are willing to break the rules, “pay the teller off in gold,” as long as the town continues to cooperate with their end of the bargain by keeping the public out and the penalties superficial.

In an industry that isn’t lacking stigma associated to unlawful activity, the Town of Telluride’s decision to abandon its code and settle the violation “behind-closed-doors” a second time, forgoing public involvement once again, only lends to the perception that, maybe, the Town of Telluride isn’t representing its community’s values any longer.

Ian Murphy