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Weed company buys Cali ghost town to turn it into a pot paradise

The company plans to turn the town, which hugs the border of the Mojave desert, into the country’s premier travel destination for eco-friendly potheads.

by Alex Lubben
Aug 5 2017, 7:30am

The U.S. has known small industrial towns. We’ve had coal towns, gold towns, fishing towns. And soon, there’s going to be a weed town.

American Green, a little-known pot tech company, is in the final stages of buying the tiny town of Nipton, California, once a Gold Rush town, for about $5 million in cash, according to Bloomberg. The company plans to turn the town, which hugs the border of the Mojave desert, into the country’s premier travel destination for eco-friendly potheads.

Nipton’s population has usually hovered between 30 and 70 (it was just six at the last count in 2016). There’s a coffee shop, a five-room hotel, some parking spots for RVs, a handful of homes — but that’s about it.

A woman leaves the Nipton Trading Post in Nipton, California. American Green Inc., one of the nation's largest cannabis companies, announced it has bought the entire 80-acre California desert town.AP Photo/John Locher

“We are excited to lead the charge for a true Green Rush,” American Green CEO David Gwyther said in a statement. “The cannabis revolution that’s going on here in the U.S. has the power to completely revitalize communities in the same way gold did during the 19th century.”

The company — which produces pot-laced vape juice and marijuana-related solutions, according to its website — plans to make a plant in Nipton to infuse water with weed, according to the AP. They hope to attract other weed-related business to the area.

The town’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, has been looking for a seller for a while now. She’d only accept payments in full, in cash. American Green says it plans to plug another $2.5 million in investments to make the town attractive to what it hopes will soon be a booming pot vacation industry.

Carl Cavaness walks to the Nipton Trading Post.AP Photo/John Locher

Already there are some fairly well established weed tourism venues in the United States. In Seattle, Hempfest has been attracting tens of thousands of people every year since 1991. Colorado, the first state to legalize weed, has a booming industry — including pot-heavy bus tours and weed’s very own version of Airbnb.

Before it was a pot paradise, Nipton was a tiny green experiment of a different kind. Its former owner since 1987, Gerald Freeman, wanted to turn the ghost town into a self-sustaining, solar-powered eco-friendly haven. He even made hats that read “Nipton, powered by the sun.”

But since Freeman died, his widow has struggled with the work involved to keep the place afloat, according to Gizmodo, which sent a reporter there in January to look into how one goes about buying a whole town.

American Green still plans to make the town fully energy independent.