Welcome To Hollyweed: Pot-Minded Prankster Changes Iconic Hollywood Sign

By Keri Blakinger 01/03/17

Pot enthusiasts Tommy Chong and Snoop Dogg took to Twitter to chime in with their approval of the sign change.

Hollyweed Sign
Photo via AP/YouTube

It looks like 2017 is already pretty lit. In the early hours of the new year, an unidentified pot-loving vandal dolled up the Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed,” possibly in celebration of the state’s recent decision to legalize recreational marijuana. 

Security footage recorded on Los Angeles’ Mount Lee showed a lone merry prankster—dressed in tactical-style gear—climbing the peak at around 3 a.m. Sunday for his commando cannabis mission, according to the Los Angeles Times

The marijuana-minded mountaineer then scurried up the iconic sign’s ladder and draped black and white tarps over the O’s to make them into E’s. A spokeswoman for the Hollywood Sign Trust told BuzzFeed that the marijuana makeover was “ambitious.” 

Meanwhile, Twitter blazed with approval. Pot icon Tommy Chong tweeted out a shot of the sign in its altered state, garnering more than 12,000 likes and 7,000 retweets. “The 1st sun of 2017 rises over #Hollyweed… (whoever did this, bravo),” wrote reporter Amanda Busick. “#hollyweed – that’s where I get my mail,” tweeted rapper Snoop Dogg.

The great ganja greeting was restored to its regular condition by 11 a.m., according to CNN. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the smoky shenanigans, but if caught, the perpetrator could be hit with a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

This isn’t the first time high-minded jokesters have altered the famous signage. The Hollywood landmark was first put up 94 years ago as an ad for a housing development. Originally, it read “Hollywoodland.” In 1949, a storm knocked down the H and made it into “Ollywoodland” until the Chamber of Commerce replaced it. They knocked the “land” off that same year. 

Then on New Year’s Day of 1976, a smoke-focused student scaled the mount to turn the sign into “Hollyweed” for the first time. He used $50 worth of curtains to make the marijuana mods, earning himself an A in his art class assignment. 

In the '80s, spirited students changed the sign to read “Go Navy” before an Army-Navy game. In 1987, someone changed it to “Holywood” before a planned papal visit. Then, just a few days before the 1992 presidential election, fans of off-beat third-party candidate Ross Perot used sheets to turn the landmark into “Perotwood.”

This time, the sign change could again have some political meaning, as California just approved Proposition 64, making recreational marijuana legal for adults over 21.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.