Back in the day, the early 1900’s, there were signs of the old west and Oregon trail-eque covered wagons that rolled through Nipton, California. This tiny town on the edge of the Mohave Desert is straight out of an old west movie scene, where California Gold Rush miners wet their whistle between searching the earth for the next riches to be discovered.
In the same way, the new riches being sought in Nipton are from the legal marijuana business. A green rush of sorts, as many business writers have dubbed it.
A company by the name of American Green has rolled into town and put down money for the deed, their main business being marijuana-centric technology and consultancy. The town was sold to the tune $5 million and the plan is to transform the town into the next pot tourism destination.
The company imagines Nipton (population: 6, according to the last count in 2016) as slick reefer oasis where tokers could hang in a weed farm, enjoy croissants at herb-friendly B&B, or hit up the natural spring baths.
Stephen Shearin, a consultant working with American Green on the Nipton development project, was quoted as saying that the company aims to “create a community that is accepting and understanding” of the use of marijuana, which is an illegal substance under federal law.
“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.”
The town’s broker told Gizmodo earlier this year that the buyer would need to pay all cash. After four months of negotiations, American Green secured more than 120 acres, all properties, and a working solar farm that will eventually allow the company to operate 100% off-the-grid.
Shearin said the company is committed to keeping the existing small local businesses, which include a general store and a five-room hotel. American Green may also offer the opportunity for locals to work for the company.
Founded in 2009, American Green was virtually unknown until now. It’s a publicly traded technology company that, according to its website, is involved in marijuana-dispensing vending machines, a dispensary-locator app, and seed-to-sale tracking solutions.
The company also manufactures and sells an oil derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis that lacks the psychoactive effects of marijuana. American Green adds the oil to balms, mints, and capsules, which it says provides “long lasting relief.” One of the first products made in Nipton will be hemp water, made from infusing oil into water tapped from a local aquifer.
Construction on infrastructure begins immediately, but the process of setting up the first legal marijuana cultivation site in Nipton may be years out. The town is unincorporated, and Shearin said it will need to incorporate before it can apply for a grower’s license.
Still, Shearin has a name for the town’s future dispensary already picked out: The Apothecary. It will have an Old West theme.