When recreational marijuana goes live in California in January 2018, folks traveling along Interstate 15 in the state will have an additional pit stop between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The small city of Nipton was just purchased by a cannabis company that wants to turn the town into a marijuana resort of sorts.
Nipton has just 20 residents, and ABC7 reports that most of them seem to be OK with the idea that Arizona-based American Green, one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies, plans on turning their town into a weed hot spot.
The company purchased the town for $5 million, according to Newsweek.
The company told ABC that the town will not suddenly become like the Old West for marijuana users.
Stephen Shearin is with Pan Pacific, a company contracted to manage Nipton for American Green. He told ABC that “hopefully” Nipton would not be a lawless town.
“We aren’t going to make Pot Town USA, to have a cannabis free-for-all,” Shearin said. “Cannabis can be embraced by a community and still have a functioning set of businesses, but with people having a good time.”
According to OTC Markets, for American Green, those businesses include cannabidiol (CBD)-infused water direct from a nearby aquifer that will be distributed throughout California; production facilities for several “well-established” edibles and extractions companies; and various commercial and recreational attractions, such as CBD and mineral baths, cannabis-product retail outposts, artists-in-residence programs, culinary events and bed-and-breakfast lodging to “complete the charming small town experience.”
From OTC Markets:
Company officials hope that this project will help to catalyze job creation and development within the town and surrounding communities, making Nipton a model for the cannabis industry’s role in stimulating and accelerating the rebuilding of struggling small town economies throughout the US where cannabis products have been legalized.
Could we be on our way to having our first corporate town? Will Nipton be the model?
“We are excited to lead the charge for a true ‘Green Rush,’” David Gwyther, chairman and president of American Green, told OTC Markets. “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. This acquisition allows us to channel the myriad interests in cannabis production and consumption for an immediate positive impact to this community’s members and to cannabis consumers across the country. As industry leaders since 2009, we are thrilled to begin work on this first-of-its-kind eco-tourism experience for conscious cannabis consumers.”
Those “interests” include a proprietary age- and identification-verifying platform, known as AGM, which is described as “the world’s most advanced smart-vending operating system featuring biometric verification.”
Biometric verification? For weed?
Remember, Nipton is a town of just 20 people. Who is going to work in all these places, and where are they going to live?
It sounds as if the company’s commerce plans are going to happen a lot faster than the tourist plans, so who is this good for? If the company bought the town, how does any of this benefit the townspeople?
James Kelly is a Las Vegas resident who has never smoked marijuana but owns stock in American Green. He told ABC, “If they can make a resort where everybody can come out here and get high and get naked, well, this is going to be huge.”
Yes. But for whom?
Based on tourism reports from other marijuana-legal states, Nipton could see exponential profit growth by becoming a weed destination. Following the passage of the recreational marijuana law in Colorado, the state saw a reported 77.1 million visitors in 2015, generating about $19.1 billion in marijuana profits and $1.13 billion in state and local taxes. Its record-breaking sales were up nearly 7 percent from when cannabis was first made legal the year prior.
“The gold rush built this city,” Shearin told Bloomberg. “The green rush can keep it moving the way people envisioned it years ago.”
The gold rush was gentrification 1.0. The influx of white men looking for gold wiped the native population out by more than half at the time gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill.
Who envisioned this?
Who is it benefiting?
Is it really lit?