In an overly literal interpretation of the “high desert,” 80 unincorporated acres just outside the Mojave will become America’s first company town owned by a weed distributor.
Nipton was founded just over 100 years ago at the tail end of the California Gold Rush and today lies mostly dormant with a dwindling population of 20. But yesterday cannabis tech company American Green announced plans to revitalize the town by buying it outright for a reported $5 million, transforming it into both a manufacturing base for its products and—potentially—the country’s de facto hub of pot tourism. (California is one of eight states where recreational use of the good bud is legal.)
As Bloomberg reports:
American Green plans to include a new facility to manufacture water infused with CBD, the cannabis component that is typically associated with reducing pain and inflammation. The new Nipton will also have a production site for edible marijuana products, retail stores, and artist-in-residence programs.
The few current structures in Nipton—a general store, school, and hotel—will be used, but American Green intends to invest up to $2.5 million more to make Bluntsville (my name, not theirs) as tourist- and eco-friendly as possible. Gerald Freeman, the late owner of the town, had installed a solar farm to provide electricity to Nipton’s few residents before passing away.
Even if Nipton doesn’t draw flocks of stoners out to the Mojave, American Green’s project has the potential to kickstart the local economy, which currently has no industry to speak of. Time found that “one of [Nipton’s] major sources of revenue is the California Lottery tickets the general store sells to people who cross the state line from Nevada because they can’t buy them there.” It’s unclear if a weed-based town will see a similar influx of buyers from across the border: Nevada might be stingy about the lotto but legal, recreation pot opened for business in the state on July 1 of this year—and Nipton is just an hour’s drive from Vegas.
A physical outpost for the rapidly expanding pot industry might be just what’s needed to get American Green’s stock trading about its current 0.0017 cents per share—a possible location for not only cannabis tourism but events, music festivals, and similar 420-friendly activities. Or it might all go up in smoke.