The Story Behind the Famed Traffic Sign that Kept Getting Stolen in Weed, California

There have been far too many giggles from people driving through Northern California near Mount Shasta who come across the sign announcing Weed, California. In fact, the town’s residents have begun banking on the town’s name in relation to marijuana with various gift shops and t-shirts. It’s become a fun phenomenon unique to the small town.

When you exit off Interstate 5 in Weed, you’re greeted with a literal fork in the road – one taking you to downtown Weed and the other going in the direction of the College of the Siskiyous. In order to portray these directions, CalTrans posted a simple sign at the junction reading “Weed” with and arrow one way, and “College” with an arrow the other way.

Now anyone who has ever been to college (or seen movies like Animal House) know that marijuana is a large part of the college experience for a lot of people. That’s most likely the reason the sign was not only photographed constantly, but also stolen at an alarming rate.

Finally, after the sign was stolen so frequently, CalTrans decided to change the sign with more information, taking the novelty away for any would-be thieves looking for the perfect ironic sign for their college dorm room. Today, the sign looks like this:

Marijuana has been a part of the town’s identity for decades, although the name comes from the town’s found Abner Weed, who ran a large lumber yard in the town in the 1800’s. Tourists like to stop in Weed and look for the green plant, even though the area doesn’t boast many legal pot shops. Even the local brewery, Mt. Shasta Brewing Co., created a crafty marketing campaign saying “Try Legal Weed” while the drug was still illegal on both a state and federal level.

While most locals have embraced the funny perception of the town’s name, probably due to its local economic benefits, it has created some problems – like a traffic sign that kept getting stolen. To this day there are probably 40-year-olds with these stolen signs hidden in their garages sitting as a memory of the once famous sign in Weed. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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