This claim has been circulating on Facebook:

enter image description here

Although marijuana is now legal in Colorado, I don't see any particular attraction to mile markers from this state, as US mile markers are pretty standard--at least along interstate highways (where this photo appears to have been taken).

In any case, is there any truth to the claim that the* 420 mile marker has been a special target of theft? And if so, did the CDOT change the mile marker as claimed in the photo? I haven't done any in-depth investigation, but the low quality of the image makes it seem quite possible that it was doctored...

*The claim suggests that there is a single mile marker 420 in Colorado, which is clearly false, as, even if there is only a single (Interstate) highway long enough to have a mile 420, there would be one marker on each side of the road, one for east-bound traffic, one for west-bound.

(A personal note: I'd rather steal a 419.99 mile marker myself....)

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    For those who are wondering why 420 might get stolen: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420_%28cannabis_culture%29 Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 16:47
  • 18
    New sign will be stolen by Nigerian scammers. Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 11:13
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    I'm surprised they didn't go with 419 and 127/128 of a mile, or some other Imperial abortion of a number. Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 7:31
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    I was driving in Washington (state) recently, and there was a blank mile marker between markers 68 and 70. Apparently it's another popular one to steal. Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 12:48
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    @T.J.Crowder: 415 and 425 already exist at miles 415 and 425 respectively.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


In January 2014, NBC News did an interview with "Amy Ford, the communications director at the Colorado Department of Transportation":

Ford couldn’t say how many times the 420 sign had been lifted in its history but said, “It was stolen frequently enough that we decided to switch our tags.”

Newspaper journalists aren't always the most reliable of information sources, but a direct interview with someone who appears to have the appropriate expertise and authority is the best I would expect to find on this topic.

They also include a second (uncredited) picture of the sign suggesting it isn't a simple photoshopped meme, but an extant sign.


Google Maps / Street View evidence:

Historical street view shows a 420 sign on I-70 Westbound in September 2011.

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    My concern is that they appear to have put the new sign in the same place as the old sign, instead of 52.8' further down the road.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 22:57
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    I think this is great evidence that the sign exists. +1. But not good evidence about who put the sign there nor why.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 0:12
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    @Michael: If that 99 is meant to be recurring then it is exactly equal to 420 since 0.99 recurring is exactly equals to 1
    – slebetman
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 1:59
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    @slebetman in that case they omitted the bar over the last nine to indicate repeating.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 2:02
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    @Michael: From the article linked in Oddthinking's answer: While a difference of .01 mile doesn’t sound like much, the 419.99 marker stands more than 50 feet away from where the old sign was posted. “We are nothing if not precise,” said Ford. Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 6:04

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