The sign was vandalized about 3 a.m. by a male suspect who was recorded on surveillance video, said Lt. Guy Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department's Security Services Division.
Dressed in all black, the unidentified vandal scaled Mount Lee, made his way over a fence and then climbed onto each of the landmark's "O" letters, the lieutenant said. He then draped those letters with black tarps so they each appeared as a lowercase "e."
The Hollywood sign was changed to say Hollyweed today pic.twitter.com/NSWmbgz9aP— Tommy Chong (@tommychong) January 1, 2017
The suspect remained at large hours after the incident. If arrested, he would face a misdemeanor trespassing charge, according to the LAPD.
The agency also notified the city's Department of General Services, whose officers patrol Griffith Park and the area near the sign.
As bemused tourists looked on from a nearby vantage point, park rangers removed the tarps and restored the proper text's visibility by 11:15 a.m.
"I thought we came to see the Hollywood sign, not the 'Hollyweed' sign," said Bruce Quinn. "But hey, it's OK with me."
According to the online newsletter The Cannabist, the landmark was similarly edited to read "Hollyweed" in 1976. The lettering was also changed 10 years later as part of a publicity campaign for a movie.
On Sunday morning, Alvin Kim and two fellow hikers were among those who posed for photos with the revised landmark in the background, which Kim described as "pretty cool."
City News Service contributed to this report.