LOS ANGELES Jan 1 The iconic hillside sign
overlooking Southern California's film-and-television hub was
defaced overnight in honor of marijuana.
Residents awoke on Sunday to find "Hollyweed" staring down
at them in four-story, white letters from Los Angeles' Mount
Lee, where a version of the picture-ready "Hollywood" sign was
first erected in 1923.
City surveillance cameras captured footage of someone
dressed in black about 3 a.m. (1100 GMT) whom police believe was
behind the conversion, Sgt. Robert Payan of the Los Angeles
Police Department said in a phone interview.
Material similar to a tarp was placed over the two Os to
make them appear as Es, and park rangers were assessing how to
remove them, Payan said.
There were no suspects, but the person if caught could be
charged with misdemeanor trespassing, he said.
A ballot measure to make recreational marijuana legal for
adults was easily approved by California voters on Nov. 8,
opening the most populous U.S. state to the burgeoning
commercial cannabis market, although the drug remains illegal
under U.S. federal law.
The famed vista with the Hollywood sign was nearly spoiled
by development in 2010 until a conservation group, with
donations from Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner and others,
purchased adjacent land to save the view.
The sign originally read "Hollywoodland" and was created to
promote a housing development. The last several letters
deteriorated in the late 1940s, and the part that remained was
restored in 1978.
(Reporting by Kevork Djansezian; Writing by David Ingram in New
York; Editing by Mary Milliken)