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Huhhh...Huhh-huhh. 420, Man. Huhh.
Huhhh. Huhh-huhh. 420, Man. Huhh.

In general, Yr Wonkette is quite open and loving and tolerant toward potheads, who (we hear) tend to be gentle souls who natter on endlessly about how industrial hemp will save the world through Fiber Magic, and then start giggling like idiots whenever they see the number “420.” It’s about as automatic as any male over the age of 12 seeing the whole number that falls between 68 and 70. But in the Great State of Idaho, where officialdom is not friendly to lovers of the gentle bud, the state Transportation Department is sick and tired of stoners stealing the “Mile 420” marker on US Highway 95, just south of Coeur d’Alene, a town name that is hard to spell even when you’re not all potted up on weed. And so they’ve replaced the sign with a marker reading “Mile 419.9.”

As best we can tell, the ITD hasn’t actually relocated the marker a tenth of a mile away from the old one, which strikes us as the sort of sloppy work that could only result from a bunch of road workers who’ve been toking up. Maybe they should have followed the lead of Colorado, which went with the more accurate “Mile 419.99” when it made a similar swap last year.

Also, too, the Guardian scrupulously notes that this is the only “420” sign in the state that ITD has had to replace, since most roads in the state don’t actually run over 400 miles. In addition, we are informed that “the number ‘420’ has long been associated with marijuana, though its origins as a shorthand for pot are murky.” Despite the popular urban legend that “420” was the section of the California Penal Code (ha! “penal”!) dealing with marijuana, we found a handy explainer from the LA Weekly that puts to rest that myth, via Snopes:

Nope. Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land. The penal codes of other states list different entries for 420, but none of them matches anything having to do with marijuana.

Rather, the Weekly explains, it refers (ha! “reefers”!) to the smoking habits of a bunch of Marin County high school students who called themselves “the Waldos” — because, logically enough, “they liked to hang out in front of a wall.” The Waldos would smoke the weed at 4:20, conveniently after school, in front of a statue of Louis Pasteur, for some reason, though they never called themselves the Louies. They spread their slang at Grateful Dead concerts, and then “Deadheads spread it outward like a virus from their San Rafael ground zero.”

So now you know … The Rest Of the Story. Good day!

As of yet, Idaho has not had to borrow another signage swap from Colorado, which, in addition to doing away with “Mile 420” along Interstate 70, also “placed a Mile 68.5 sign near the summit of Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins” because “bawdy bandits kept taking the Mile 69 sign.” Idahoans apparently don’t go in for that sort of thing.

As of yet, no such simple numerical solution has become available to Wisconsin, which has a recreation area named after America’s WW II Ace of Aces, Dick Bong.

bong recreation

[Guardian / LA Weekly / Denver Post]

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  • JohnnyZhivago2

    420 never happens in NJ which is only about 70 miles across.

    • zerosumgame0005

      you’re talking about Christie?

    • NerdWithNoName

      But, I would think Cheesequake State Park signs would be a thing.

  • Bob@Bob.com

    Don’t worry about the sloppy work. State police have been known to move those markers here and there to adjust their patrol areas.

    • Ryan Denniston

      Seems relevant.

  • Belasaurius

    how high were they when they came up with that decision?

  • Ryan Denniston

    Haven’t they tried directly selling the signs to whomever wants one? They can’t cost all that much, and with the Intertubz, they don’t need an intermediary. Think of it, an entire nation of potheads buying their 420 signs from Idaho (or Colorado). Must I solve all of the problems?

    • sw19womble

      Invisible Hand passes to the left….

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      This is why the world needs head shops.

      • MsAnthropesMr

        Where else can teenage dirtbags hang out? Starbucks is too clean.

    • eddi

      There are commercial shops that sell highway signs. Perfectly legal to own. States don’t sell to private parties because of regulations. Public money making the sign benefiting the private party buying it.

  • exinkwretch

    I grew up (technically anyway) north of Coeur d’Alene. The proper spelling is lower case “d,” capital “A.”) I drove 95 regularly during my college days 30+ years ago. I never swiped the sign. I don’t think the 420 lingo was entrenched yet. I couldn’t afford pot in any event. I had to college on $1 pitchers of Rainier.

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      Have you recovered from drinking Rainier Beer yet?

      • kindness

        Rainier is still better than Pabst Blue Ribbon.

        • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

          Was.

    • ThePuckStopsHere

      I don’t think I want to live in an America where pot is unafforded.

    • Whale Chowder

      Substitute Schmitties for Rainier (ooh, fancy beer!) and you could describe my college years. Well, except I got high every chance too.

    • Seek

      Raaaaaaaa
      Neeeaaarrrr
      Beeeeeerrrr

    • david green

      So they were overcharging you for the beer?

  • Indiepalin

    When Chris Christie is elected, the number 420 will be sent to Gitmo as an enemy combatant

  • FauxAntocles

    There was a County Road 69 near where I grew up. Eventually they just changed the number.
    The story on 420 that I’ve heard in these parts is that the ski slopes generally close at 4:00 so by 4:20 it’s time to party.

    • eddi

      We did a few milepost 68.9 where they were in easy driving distance of a town.

  • diogenez

    Highways signs from nearby Highway 666 were a popular theft item, until the road was renamed to a less tempting ‘491.’

    • Lizzietish81

      I had a stop sign in my room for years, my sister and her boyfriend stole it.

      • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

        Two signs in England I regret not stealing.

        1. The village sign in Horton-Cum-Studley.

        2. Another one that said “Welcome to Silverstone. Please drive slowly.”

  • Lizzietish81

    If you go to large apartment buildings, there is almost never a number 13.

  • MsAnthropesMr

    Who says stoners have no ambition?

    • Lizzietish81

      I was gonna steal a sign, but then I got high.

      • MsAnthropesMr

        I was gonna write a funnier comment, but then I got high. Plus, they don’t allow comments. Fascists.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      It’s important to plan the theft of the 420 sign before 4:20 rolls around, otherwise, you know, scoring some cheetos might be a higher priority.

      • MsAnthropesMr

        Planning? Who do you think we are, Bristol Palin?

  • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

    Hey Dok, when I lived in Idaho in the early 80s, 69 was a worse felony than 420. Believe it or not.

  • drbloor

    So they should just get started at 4:19 instead of waiting until 4:20? Works for me.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    A more mathematically sound solution would be to start numbering at -200 so the signs on Hwy 95 never reach 420. Yes, that would require some shuffling of the existing signs, and a bunch of new ones. Think of it as a jerbs program. Also, Idaho schoolchildren would be ahead of the rest of the country in getting that number line thingie down pat.

    • NerdWithNoName

      But, would you have a mile 0 or go from -1 to +1 like years do? You could also go -1, -0,+0, +1 just to give the programmers something to argue about.

      • Latverian Diplomat

        Well, I would say use the number line as a model, and have a single 0. You might think Idahoans would find that a bit too common core, but Idaho is still a common core state, somehow.

  • memzilla

    I would just steal two “Mile 210” signs.

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      Make the bets.
      It’s a dime, Martini.
      I bet a nickel.
      A dime’s the limit, Martini.
      I bet a dime.
      This is not a dime, Martini.
      This is a dime.
      If you break it in half…
      …you don’t get two nickels, you get shit.

    • Ambignostic

      420, 421, whatever it takes.

      • gehrig fry

        Wow Mr. Mom.

    • junior friggster

      That’s some next-level “outside the (stash) box” thinkin’, right there.

    • Tendernob

      I would steal a “Mile 12” and “Mile 35” because BOB DYLAN, that’s why.

      • FlownOver

        Highway 61 LIBEL!111!!

        (Now THAT’S the Highway sign I woulda stole!)

    • TheBidenator

      You’re assuming garden variety stoners would be able to add 2 and 2 together to make 420…they’d just be like, “Hey man…….why’d you steal two 210 signs……dumbass….?” you’d need college stoners, the evolved type.

  • ryp

    Back in High School we set out to steal a Highway 714 sign, but passed out and crashed into a bridge abutment instead, totaling the Camaro. Good Times.

    • Bob@Bob.com

      I miss ludes…and placidyls

      • say wha

        Cosby? Is that You?

    • RumAddled

      Stuart, FL is still exit 714 I think. Of course only Oldz even get that joke.

      • FlownOver

        Or Jack Webb fans – but I repeat myself.

  • Spotts1701

    C’mon, if they want to take the sign make ’em work for it. Like carve it into the side of a 300-pound boulder.

    • sw19womble

      Chris Christie?

      • bozilingus

        He will need to lose some more pounds.

  • dslindc

    To be fair, I’d need to be pretty high to live in Coeur d’Alene too.

  • zerosumgame0005

    419.9 sounds good to me, always almost 420 :)

    • Toomush_Infer

      Then 421………………………………what?…..

    • jmk

      ♫♪ “Anticipaaaation…Anticipaaation….Anticipaaaaayaaaation is makin’ me wait!” ♪♫

  • Kakkeltje

    Just write a / through the last nine and the sign is accurate again.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Or a bar over the last nine.

  • Ryan Denniston

    Can’t they just scatter new bags of Doritos around the mile marker?

    • Lizzietish81

      Rig it so they have to solve a puzzle before they can get it

      • MsAnthropesMr

        I think…yeah…that’s it. Funkytown.

        • Why, yes, yes I can take you to Funkytown. Why do you ask?

          • MsAnthropesMr

            Because I must make a move that is right for me.

      • eddi

        I would say use anti-tamper bolts but with a big enough pry bar you can pull the sign right off them. Might ruin the collector value though.

    • Lizzietish81

      Or place tin foil on some of the nearby trees to distract them

      • Suttree

        Oooh, shiney.

    • Michael Smith

      Or just have a boom box underneath it that is constantly playing Dark Side of the Moon. They’d immediately forget what they went there to do.

      • Blank Ron

        … uhh, what?

  • Jeremy McIntyre

    This has always been one of my favorite road signs. In Michigan heading north on I-75. The “Climax” and “Hell” signs are great too.

  • zerosumgame0005

    Why back in the days when I had to walk to school in the snow (literally, in freaking MN) uphill BOTH WAYS (OK, not literal on that one, sue me) without shoes (that also to) we just used “13” as a signal to get our smoke on. 13th letter of the alphabet ya know, “M”, ahh simpler times!

    • marxalot

      We called meeting up and getting drunk/high at someone’s place after school “doing theology homework.”

      • chicken thief

        After school? I admire your restraint.

    • david green

      Did you at least have bread bags?

      • zerosumgame0005

        only the rich kids had those!

  • RoyalUglyDude

    Reminds me of the time Ron and Nancy bought that house in Bel Air, and got the city to change the address from 666 to 668 St. Cloud Lane.
    “668: the neighbor of the beast”

    • zerosumgame0005

      and the beast always said Ronnie was the worst neighbor!

    • marxalot

      Used to live in **666, the Postal Number of the Beast.

  • Surprised this sign has never been stolen. This is a road in the town in NH where my mother lives.

    • azeyote

      smutty and hollow – mom can’t be that bad

      • BackDoorMan

        … I think I may have dated her.

  • kindness

    Curses! Foiled again! Ah well, guess I’d better call the airline and cancel that flight I had to Idaho just so I could steal that mile marker.

    • Blank Ron

      Come to Ontario! You can find a 420 km marker* near Oshawa if you want one and think you can outrun the OPPs new cars.
      * yes, I know, it’s only 5/8 as good as a mile marker.

      • FlownOver

        How many in the province are down with OPP?

  • crunchyknee

    Oh, weedists. Moving to my great state of Colorado w/o any job prospects, because “everyone is high, maaaaaaaaaaan.” Stealing 420 signs. Causing rents to rise because you can afford an over-priced shitbox apt, due to the fact that daddy is paying rent. Clogging my favorite dive bars with hoards of shitty music loving douche-canoes. Never change.

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      Jeez, dude, I left in ’79. Too soon?

  • sw19womble

    Say, you know who else thought it was a good idea to steal signs?

    • bozilingus

      The Yankees?

      • Reddishrabbit

        Giants too

    • memzilla

      Casey Stengel?

    • vivian

      The guy on second? Bill Belichick?

    • SuspectedDemocrat

      True story: I was at a flea market and saw a guy selling the freeway exit sign for the very same exit you took to get to the flea market and my only question was, how are your customers supposed to find you now?

    • I stole the “welcome to Snowball Ontario” sign once. Right after Clerks came out. So, I’m going to go with “dumb(er) teenage me”

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      The Czechs, when Russia invaded?

  • elviouslyqueer

    I cannot believe that not one of you has made a snarky reference to DICK BONG.

    Y’all all suck. And yes, I saw exactly what I did there.

    • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

      Cuz Dick Bong woulda shot us in the ass if he was still around?

      • Me not sure

        P-38 jockey, wasn’t he?

        • Thatsitfor Theotherwon

          I do believe so.

    • MsAnthropesMr

      We woulda, but yeah, we got high.

    • marxalot

      What are two things I never liked enough to get good at putting in my mouth, Alex?

    • FlemmishSpy

      Major Dick Bong, if you please.

      • HeywoodJablomey

        Dick bong exists, because of course it does!

        • BackDoorMan

          … oh, man! I really have to find out where to buy one of these! Whip it out at Christmas dinner and watch my homophobic, anti-drug parents fall over dead into the cranberries. Thank you, Santa!

    • bobbert

      When I was in ROTC back at the U of Wis, I was a member of the Arnold Air Society. The (Dick) Bong Squadron of the AAS. True story.

  • Skwerl King

    Um…sorry to be the nerd, but It is actually “419..9” Poor math notation, but I’ve seen arguments online about if .9999999999999… is equal to 1 that have turned deadly. I think that is what they are shooting for here.

    Speaking of shooting, there are no bullet holes in the sign. Someone will need to correct that.

    • Or paintball splatters.

    • Biff52

      Nine nine nine!

  • John Smith

    Dock Bong – wasn’t that one of the requirements Josh Duggar was looking for on his Asley Madison account?

    I can only imagine what happens when you take your finger off the carb hole.

  • cousin itt

    Giggle, giggle, snort, chuckle, cough.

    Wut? Who me?

  • OrdinaryJoe

    Only a really hardened criminal would steal this nice public sign in Bakersfield CA !!

    • leemoder

      Bakersfield. It fucking figures.

      • david green

        Bakersfield? Ah good times the… Wait! Bakersfield? Never mind.

    • Biff52

      I live in Inyo County…

      • Markuserektus

        Hey neighbor! I live in the biggest county…

        • Biff52

          SBD! It’s Yooooge!

      • OrdinaryJoe

        My condolences.

        • Biff52

          We do get to look down on all of Kern County, though, because fuck those guys.

        • Left Coast Tom

          Bishop now has a nice brewery.

    • TheBidenator

      if getting arrested for stealing a sign could get you out of Bakersfield I’m sure the entire populace would be stealing those nightly and then phoning 911….

  • elviouslyqueer

    Also too, one of my favorite street names in Baton Rouge. It’s Southern and Cajun, and pretty much perfectly describes what happens to your finances when you smoke too much of the Demon Weed.

    • Suttree

      Holy fuck! That was right arouundthe corndaa from my girlfriends. We always laughed on the way out after we spent all of our money on drugs.

  • Duke

    Stoners ruin everything.

    And, no, the grocery store isn’t that funny whoever is on the front of the cereal box. Grow up. Get a meaningful job and pay my social security.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      you forgot: Get off mah grass!

      • Axomamma

        Yeah, you’re crushing my buds.

    • david green

      I remember once finding the blue water in a public toilet so hilarious that my friends had to carry me out of the rest room. Cereal boxes not so much

  • goonemeritus

    Seems like an opportunity missed, why wouldn’t the State place an appropriately themed souvenir and snack stand right on that spot. The revenues on hacky-sacks could fill the State coffers.

    • Mintie

      And probably distract the sign stealers :D

  • Idaho Bong!

    Woo hoo!

    No – YOU da ho!

    Huh huh huh huh!

  • Michael Smith

    Also, pity the municipality that, in a more innocent era, thought it would be a good idea to name one of its roads “High Street.”

    • Fitzgerald Chesterfield

      Had friends in college who lived on Old South High St. The sign was abbreviated: “O So. High St”

      • Michael Smith

        That is completely insane. I know that victim blaming is bad, but you could almost say that town was asking to have its sign stolen.

      • leemoder

        Oh, that’s just…so beautiful.

  • junior friggster

    wake’n’bake’n’take

  • Vienna Woods

    I knew a teacher who lived at 69 Head Street.

    • Michael Smith

    • Playonwords

      A list of dubious British place names including the infamous Twatt, Orkney

    • I always wondered whether the famous Head singer-actor brothers, Murray (of “One Night in Bangkok” fame) and Tony (of Giles from Buffy fame) have a brother called Richard.

  • marxalot

    Huh, the only sign that tempted me was FM 1979, and that’s only because I went through a very heavy Smashing Pumpkins phase.

    • Major_Major_Major

      I don’t know if it exists, but there was a band in the Houston area when I was in high school that used FM 666 on their shirts. I always wanted to find a road sign, but back in the dark days before the internet, it was WAAAAAY too much effort.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      I always wanted one of these

      http://www.dirtybutton.com/media/db791-big-bone-lick.jpg

      Edit: I am mentally about 12. I am ok with this

  • JohnR

    Stoners have had it with warrantless roadside body cavity searches, late night tactical police raids, having to pee in a cup to get a crummy job, all because of a plant that at the end of the day is pretty harmless and may actually be beneficial.

    • This aggression will not stand, man!

      • Suttree

        ..

    • Major_Major_Major

      replied to the wrong comment, shyte

  • Sharkey
    • Holy crap, I know several people who would go to great lengths to get that sign!

      • Jen_Baker_VA

        That is sort of a double duty sign ain’t it.

  • Fitzgerald Chesterfield

    Say, you know what else deadheads spread like a virus?

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Abysmal taste in music?

      • leemoder

        SLANDER! Me & my commune will hunt you down and hacky your sack…or something, I forget.

        • ahughes798

          Chlamydia?

        • Suttree

          Devil sticks libelz!

      • Suttree

        Rueben and Cherise libel! Yes I know where the door is.

    • Viruses?

    • Suttree

      Lice, body odor, crocheted hats, and a fanatical devotion to believing that the shit they are smoking is opium?

  • Me not sure

    if you value your immortal soul don’t camp here……

    • DEL_5447

      I didn’t camp, but I’ve been tubing there. I do laugh every time I see the sign.

    • TheBidenator

      Someone needs to send that sign to Justin Harris, or plop it out in front of his house….

  • Mormos

    seriously though, hemp is the strongest natural fiber
    (am I serious or joking? Why choose?)

    • sw19womble

      John Harvey Kellogg Libel!!!!!!

    • DahBoner

      Not when wet.

      Hemp rope loses 20% of its strength when wet while bamboo cables increase in strength by as much as 20% when wet.

      • Mintie

        Hemp requires minimal processing to turn into textiles compared to bamboo, so there :P

        • doktorzoom

          Hippie fight! Hippie fight!

          • Suttree

            Will there be girls with dreadlocks and armpit hair? Asking for myself.

  • chicken thief

    There is a town in PA off of Route 80 named “Scotrun” that for whatever reason, every time I see it I read it as “Scrotum”.

    Not sure where that fits in with the real signs that are funny, though…..

    • ahughes798

      I drove through Blue Hole, Kentucky once.

  • Viva La Tabula Raza

    A lot of Air Force Bases have streets named after Dick Bong. But the signs never get stolen because the base Security Forces are authorized to use deadly force if they encounter sign-stealers.

  • DahBoner
  • jmk

    Has to be done…

  • say wha

    Welcome to Tucson!

    • BackDoorMan

      … never been to Tuscon, but I’ve often found myself at the corner of that AVE and PL. In fact, it’s often a destination.

  • Axomamma

    If the Wisconsin sign were exit 420 I bet they’d be replacing the sign twice a day.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    “Dick” Bong <>

  • Biff52

    I used to work for the DOT, and folks will steal any signs they find amusing, titillating or in whatever way meaningful to their life. It gets to be pretty damned tiring, and expensive, replacing them.

    I wasn’t above baiting them with humorous signs of my own, though. Here’s an example of my best work:

    • eddi

      Wimp Way. During the Bush administration, I swear we replaced it weekly. I suggested screening up a bunch on poster board and leaving them by the sign.

    • Greg Fuderer

      So hey what is it with that sign that looks like a guy using a crowbar trying to roll a triangle with rounded corners off a rock?

    • Left Coast Tom

      There’s the sign that used to point to Bolinas…after lots of thefts, widely suspected to be perpetrated by Bolinas locals, there’s no sign or signpost.

  • m3bosha

    I can see the 18 year old me stealing the 419.99 sign. As a teenaged stoner, it would have been even better than a 420 sign.

    • chimichanga

      Absofreakinlutely

    • BackDoorMan

      …. “antici… … … pation!”

      Never misunderestimate it. I’m with you.

  • arglebargle

    Bunch of amateurs. We don’t fuck around here in Lancaster county…

  • kaw143

    Oh, man, I needed a laugh like this, today.

  • TheBidenator

    If stoners were militants they’d steal that sign and replace it with a cardboard sign saying “420” on it…they could even make the sign out of a pizza box so EVERYONE would know who did it.

  • PUAAN

    There is one of these “419.9” signs on I-75 in northern Florida just south of the I-10 interchange. I drove past it a couple of days ago and much hilarity ensued…

  • willi0000000

    time to break out the concrete saw and get that one on the breakdown lane.

  • Beulah

    Welcome to California

    • Left Coast Tom

      Oh, there used to be a better sign! Weed has a campus of “College of the Siskiyous” (a local community college), and there used to be a sign on the exit ramp pointing one way to “College” and the other to “Weed”. It now reads “College of the Siskiyous”, which I guess is a bit less stealable.

    • BackDoorMan

      … ohmigawd! ohmigawd! ohmigawd! Which one do we choose?
      “I exits therefore I is!”

  • ahughes798

    A friend of mine has one of the “Bong Recreational Area” signs in their den of weedy iniquity.

    • BackDoorMan

      … can you get me an invite? I’ll bring the Arizer. Oh, and munchies – I always have a rucksack packed.

  • Lazy Media

    They should put a QR code on frequently stolen signs that links to a Cafe Press version.

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