DENVER — At a time when a lot of people are watching, this is not a great look for the City of Denver.
The City put up a cringeworthy post on Twitter and Facebook Monday.
The post starts like someone trying to sound hip, opening with, "Sup Denver." It then goes on to promote the Mile High 420 Festival happening at Civic Center Park on Wednesday.
The post's call to action is, "fight the stigma surrounding marijuana use," and ends with, "don't roll up without a ticket."
To give some context, using marijuana in public is still illegal in Colorado, so the City's confusing messaging lit a controversy on social media. Contact Denver7 started asking questions, beginning with Denver's chief digital officer.
"We definitely realized pretty quickly that we were inadvertently stirring up some controversy from the city side that we did not intend to do," said Jenny Schiavone, chief digital officer for the City of Denver.
It was so much controversy that Tuesday, the City took the unusual step of removing the post, saying they generally don't promote events not sponsored by the city.
Just in case you still think the City is trying to be chill about 4/20, the Office of Marijuana Police sent out a reminder that consumption of marijuana at the Mile High 420 Festival is strictly prohibited, even throwing in a threat of prison sentence.
"Do you see how there was some confusion between the first post and now?" asked Contact Denver7's Jaclyn Allen.
Absolutely," said Schiavone. "I, in my role, saw that confusion. And I understand that maybe removing the post could cause a little bit of confusion as well. But we really felt like that was important to correct, truly correct the record rather than kind of continuing to drag out questions in the comment area."
"Obviously, you know, we hope that we don't make mistakes like this in our messaging and in our brand content. But this was a big lesson that we learned, myself and my team, and ultimately, we're the ones to be accountable for that," Schiavone continued.
Now, the City has put up a replacement message on social media that's not nearly as hip, emphasizing Denver's still very strict consumption rules.
Denver police have been pretty lenient in years past at the Mile High 420 Festival. It's expected more than 30,000 people will show up and probably toke up. Therefore, the reality is the focus is less on public pot use and more about road closures, traffic and public safety.
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.