'Mile 420' Road Signs in Colorado Stolen Often Since Pot Legalization

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 02:23 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has given rise to something beyond a new business of pot stores — the theft of Mile 420 road signs.

The term "420" is associated with marijuana culture, with April 20 often referred to as Weed Day. The origin of the unofficial holiday is hazy, but it is recognized by marijuana users around the world.

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Because of this, marijuana enthusiasts have taken to stealing the 420 mile marker signs off Interstate 70, the Denver Post reported. The sign is supposed to sit on a quiet stretch of interstate, near the small town of Stratton, Colo., some 150 miles east of Denver.

The repeated thefts have infuriated highway officials to the point that they have placed a new mile marker sign, Mile 419.99. 

"Obviously people steal these signs," Amy Ford, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman, told the Post. "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."

Only a handful of roads run through the state to earn a 420 mile marker designation. U.S. 40, near Hugo, and U.S. 50, near McClave, have no signs at the 420-mile mark.

Ford told NBC News the 419.99 mile sign stands about 50 feet away from where the old sign was posted. 

"We are nothing if not precise," Ford said, who tried smile at the situation but expects that the 419.99 sign may have a short shelf life as well. "It's just one of those funny things. I'm sure with all attention we've gotten, it'll disappear again."

Ford said that it was not the first time the highway department had to move mile marker signs because of souvenir-hungry thieves. She said the department recently changed its mile marker 69 signs to mile marker 68.5 near the summit of Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins.

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