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article imageColorado 420 highway marker repeatedly stolen by pot enthusiasts

By Scott Tuttle     Jan 12, 2014 in Odd News
On Colorado's Interstate 70, east of Denver, there once stood a sign to mark mile 420. In recent years, this sign has been stolen and replaced numerous times by weed enthusiasts due to its unintended reference to their favorite herb.
According to Amy Ford, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the sign has been stolen so many times officials have lost count.
Understanding that each replacement would undoubtedly be stolen again, CDOT decided to try a creative approach to combat thievery. Rather than simply replace the sign with another identical one, they decided to replace it with a highway marker reading mile 419.99.
"Obviously people steal these signs," said Ford. "In the past, if a sign was stolen too much, we wouldn't replace it. This is sort of an innovative way for us to keep the sign there."
"420" is a common code used by pot smokers that originates back to the early 1970s. According to legend, a group of California teens in San Rafael calling themselves "the Waldos" invented the term in reference to the fact that they often met in front of a statue of French chemist Louis Pasteur to get high at 4:20 in the afternoon. When they passed each other in the school halls, they began to use the term to converse about the drug in secret.
From San Rafael, the term caught on and is now used around the world to refer to various aspects of marijuana, from its effect to paraphernalia to the time people use it.
As early as 1990, High Times magazine began using the term, and there is now a website called
The clever sign altering was loosely inspired by a previous Colorado sign change for mile 69. Due to excess theft, the marker was eventually replaced by a mile 68.5 sign.
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