DENVER-- For people who make watching the reputation of Colorado and Denver their business, it was a rough New Year's Eve.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LEGALIZED MARIJUANA IN COLORADO
After all the planning, there was nothing to do but wait and see how the first legal sales of recreational marijuana would look on January 1.
"It was the fear of the unknown and that's why I couldn't sleep at night worrying about it," said Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown. "Because the image of our city was at stake; the image of our state was at stake."
Now that day one of pot sales are over, Brown says he was pleasantly surprised.
"A lot of people were surprised how mellow the event [was.] Some say it was boring, which I welcome," Brown said.
But Colorado is playing with a taboo in a way that makes news all across the country and the world-- and it's becoming a part of our identity.
"Right now it is. There's no doubt," Brown said. "We have friends all over the country and they joke and laugh about it."
Against that backdrop, officials in Colorado have been working without much fanfare to deliver what the voters of the state demanded.
"It's the law of the land and we're going to adapt and learn to live with it," said Rich Grant with Visit Denver.
That being said, his agency will not be promoting this new side of our state, they plant to leave it to the marijuana industry to promote itself.
That's despite the fact that tourism boosters have no problem bragging about our craft breweries to the world.
"Beer is legal in all 50 states, beer has been legal for 60 years, and beer is not a federal crime," Grant said. "So, it's pretty evident I think."
Attitudes toward marijuana will need to change before you can expect legalized pot to enjoy the same status.
"Drinking has been around for centuries. So has dope. But it's not socially accepted," Brown said. "Now will it ever be? Probably. I predict ten years down we'll probably have smoking dens."
Brown says when legal sales start in Washington state and maybe elsewhere, that will take some pressure off Colorado.
But in the meantime all eyes are on us.
"Our image will be created not by us, but for us, and we might not like it," Brown said.
If that's so, there's not much that the city or state can do to help our image, except keep the regulatory system running strong and smooth.
Here's what people around the country think of Colorado.
WCSH 6, Portland, ME: http://on.fb.me/190lrso
THV 11, Little Rock, AK: http://on.fb.me/Jx75nJ
WLTX, News19, Columbia, SC: http://on.fb.me/1bCvONG
WTSP, 10 NEWS, Tampa Bay, FL: http://on.fb.me/1arydv5
WBIR, Channel 10, Knoxville, TN: http://on.fb.me/1a4ykAh
KARE, 11 News, Minneapolis, MN: http://on.fb.me/1lDblhn
12 News, Phoenix, AZ: http://on.fb.me/1d2IDY8
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