Colorado mile marker 420 changed to 419.99

Mile419-420
Image: KUSA

Approximately 148 miles east of Denver on I-70, near the town of Stratton (pop. 669), one used to see mile marker 420 at the side of the road — if it hadn’t been stolen.  It seems thieves, presumably marijuana aficionados, cherished the big green-and-white 420 signs.

Tired of constantly replacing the signs, the Colorado Department of Transportation employed a little preventive creativity last year and changed the signs to 419.99.

“So far it’s working,” said Amy Ford, a CDOT spokesperson.

Makes one wonder if they’ll soon be changing the 69 signs to 68.99, as those also tend to disappear.

Update, January 11, 2014: Just found this on PolicyMic:

“Mile 420” is not the only sign desired by sticky-fingered Coloradans. Ford said CDOT placed a “Mile 68.5” sign near the summit of Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins, after continuous pilfering of the “Mile 69” sign.

25 thoughts on “Colorado mile marker 420 changed to 419.99

    1. I thought about explaining it, but decided it would be a waste of time since surely everyone had heard of 420. My bad. That’s what happens when you live in Colorado for a while …

  1. BTW, in looking up the 420 reference I followed a link for the legality of MJ and found an interesting result, PT. Your state is now in strange company. There are only 4 other places in the world where marijuana is legal – Washington state, Uruguay, Bangladesh, and North Korea.

    1. I’m not thrilled about being the nation’s lab rat on this. While I had become almost ambivalent about the legalization, I voted against it. My main concerns are access by minors and people driving high. (In a state where adults won’t even keep their guns away from minors, one can only imagine the result of THC-laced edibles in the home.) And enforcement will be a nightmare in a state where the sheriffs won’t even enforce gun laws. You see, it’s not legal statewide. There are only about six counties that permit sales, and even in those counties many municipalities have made it illegal. Only about two dozen shops, mostly in Denver, opened on January 1. Where you can legally possess your purchase after that is tricky. Right now you’re legal in the shop and in your home; in between, you’d better have your lawyer with you.

      Oh, and when people say Denver, they often are thinking of that large metro blob on the Colorado map labeled Denver. The actual incorporated City of Denver is much, much smaller, and most of the surrounding, contiguous cities did not legalize pot. Furthermore, it’s forbidden in many places in Denver (bars, restaurants, the 16th Street Mall, public places). It’s a far more complicated situation than the national media have indicated (probably because they don’t fully understand it either).

      1. Thanks for those insights, PT. I wasn’t aware that only small parts of your state had legalized pot. Colorado’s tentative toe-in-the-water experiment with MaryJane is a spectacle worth watching. The comparison with prohibition is appropriate. Ken Burns’ 5 ½ hour documentary on it is fascinating if you haven’t watched it. One fact from it that stays with me was that many people who campaigned for prohibition, mostly wealthy, were themselves partakers and secured their own supplies. One woman prominent in the movement prepared for the future with an entire basement full of booze!

        I can easily see the present social exercise playing out in a similar fashion, but given the butterfly effect, I suppose almost anything is possible. The facts of the matter are already roiled with myth, rumor, speculation, gossip and unsupported opinions. One national writer and Colorado native, Jay Ambrose, had a column in today’s local paper on the subject. He opined, without mentioning any specific source, that if the stuff gets in the heads teenagers, ” . . . their IQ development will be thwarted and their chances of psychosis immensely aggravated . . . an example of the disorder is believing a TV is forwarding secret messages.” And so it goes . . . 🙄

        1. I’ve heard that pot smoking can permanently affect the still-developing teenage brain, including IQ, but haven’t looked into the latest research on that. There are so many opinions on the subject — some informed and some not — ranging from one extreme to the other; it’s hard to know what to believe. Going to be a while before the dust (er, smoke?) settles on this one!

          1. I agree, PT, the science verdict is likely to take a long time, and yours and Mak’s experiences are instructive: psychoactive drugs are highly variable in how they affect different people.

  2. I’ve favored legalizing pot for some time, equating many problems we’ve had with what happened during the trial of liquor prohibition. However, seeing the high cost to consumers of legal marijuana is causing some rethinking. If prices stay very high, the criminal element will go right on flourishing because they’ll be able to continue as suppliers at well below market cost.

  3. I got the “69” thing right away PT, but I hadn’t a clue about “420” until Jim chimed in. And hear I thought I was cool! Like you, I think I’d be far more likely to steal that cool “419.99” sign than the one it replaced. However, I suspect the “68.99” one is forever safe! 😆

    1. 4:20 may have originated as the time a group of high schoolers got together to light up, but April 20 is now recognized worldwide as a day to light up. You may recall the photos of hundreds of pot smokers assembled on the CU campus in Boulder every year on April 20.

      An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people all exhale marijuana smoke as the clock hit 4:20pm during the 4/20 event at the University of Colorado in Boulder

      And no, I’ve never tried it. I didn’t even know what it smelled like until I moved here and my son pointed it out.

      1. Now that I think of it, I’ve heard of similar events being held in this area. I just never associated it with a particular date. As for trying it, you’re about the only person I know who hasn’t. Unfortunately, like alcohol, I never developed a “taste” for it, despite how weird my friends thought that made me. For some reason my body insists on treating alcohol and pot like poison, and I’d rather be considered “weird” for not partaking rather than be remembered as “that guy who kept barfing all night!” 🙄

        1. I’m just an old prude, I guess. Tried but didn’t like smoking tobacco, so why would I try pot? (Besides, in those days pot was still being likened to hard drugs; all the adults remembered “reefer madness.”) And like you, alcohol didn’t “take.” I did my share of drinking in college and learned that inevitably I get sick before I get happy or high. Barfing is a great deterrent.

          1. Our backgrounds are just so different PT. Off and on, I’ve smoked tobacco since my dad let me try his cigars as a “remedy” for my motion sickness problem when I was about six years old, and I tried pot for the first time when I was twelve. Over the years, I’ve literally experimented with more mind altering substances than I can count, and yet, because I’ve always looked at it as just that – scientific experimentation – my friends always thought of me as the “prude” who was killing their buzz because I was more interested in taking notes and discussing the experience than in acting a fool. I’ve often wondered if my underlying motivation was the reason why stimulants ended up being the only drugs I could actually tolerate…

          2. Yep, totally different. I’ve never knowingly been around illicit drugs (other than pot at a concert), and I’m too much of a control freak to want to do any mind-altering (not to mention the fear of negative consequences). Not that it’s a big concern at my age.

... and that's my two cents