A publicly traded marijuana grower, American Green Inc., has made a bold play on California’s marijuana legalization: It just bought an entire town.
The company has acquired the tiny burg of Nipton, California, for about $5 million and plans to invest as much as $2.5 million over the next 18 months to create a pot-friendly tourist destination. The purchase includes 120 acres of land with a general store, a hotel, a school building and mineral baths.
American Green, based in Tempe, Arizona, will use the existing structures and build new ones — powered by renewable energy — to revitalize the town, said project manager Stephen Shearin. Ideally, the outpost will spawn imitators, he said.
“We thought that showing that there was a viable means of having a cannabis-friendly municipality and further making it energy independent could be a way of really inspiring folks to say, ‘Why can’t we do that here?’” he said.
Nipton, a former mining turned gold-rush ghost town, has a population of somewhere between 6 and 20 people. There are a handful of businesses, including a general store and a five-room hotel located in the massive Mojave Desert in the nation’s largest county, San Bernardino. Located on the edge of the Nevada border, about an hour east of Las Vegas, summertime temperatures in Nipton often top 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Shearin says the plan is to develop Nipton into a pot-friendly resort town along the lines of some of the small towns that make up the Napa Valley wine country. He hopes to exploit the anticipated “Green Rush.”
Shearin told Business Insider that his client is aware of the looming threat of intervention by the federal government now that Trump is president. The Obama administration generally did not pursue enforcement efforts in states where pot was legalized.
Shearin believes it is crucial to the craft the right public image of the first “Pot Town, USA”:
“The [idea] here isn’t to create ‘Woodstock 2017,'” Shearin said. “It’s about creating an environment where people come to work and share in a community.”
American Green makes and sells an oil derived from hemp known as CBD, and a number of cannabis products that do not contain the “psychoactive effects of marijuana,” as well as balms, mints, and capsules that it claims provide “long lasting relief.”
One of the first products it plans to manufacture in Nipton will be hemp water, made from infusing oil into water tapped from a local aquifer.
Shearin says the new town already has a new name: “The Apothecary.” Seems fitting for an Old West town.