As cannabis grows increasingly acceptable in society and more states legalize it, everything from cannabis churches and resorts to yoga and restaurants are cropping up. And now, there will be an entire cannabis-inspired town.
American Green is a cannabis company based in Arizona, but they just bought the small California town of Nipton, located in San Bernardino County, and plan to convert into a municipality with a cannabis theme.
The company has a “state of the art” cultivation facility in Arizona and also sells hemp-based CBD (cannabidiol) products online and works to develop cannabis apps. They just spent five million dollars to obtain Nipton and plan to spend another $2.5 million creating their cannabis tourist attraction over the next 18 months.
“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?’” says the company’s consultant and project manager for Nipton, Stephen Shearin.
“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.”
In doing so, the company hopes to develop Nipton into a tourist attraction and make cannabis approachable and acceptable to a wider audience.They plan to manufacture products with smaller doses and provide a vending machine that ensures customers are of age using a biometric scanner.
American Green wants to make Nipton, which features natural mineral springs, a tourist destination. Shearin told Marijuana Business Daily that they plan to “open cannabis-themed bed and breakfasts, host culinary events, start artists-in-residence programs and more.”
They are in negotiations with edible and extract companies to set up shop in Nipton, as well as ship and distribute their products to other parts of the state.
Though they plan to be up and running by mid-October of this year, they still have to wait for the necessary state and local licenses to be able to cultivate and sell cannabis on the property.
“If we have to wait until January and prepare for that and get that in place, and then build out the infrastructure to support it, we can still have a cannabis-friendly destination,” Shearin said.
“It’s a master-planned community,” he told Marijuana Business Daily. “It’s designed to be very specific in terms of being legal, being a town and running it correctly. It’s designed to be open-ended in terms of what it can evolve into by partnering with the right company.”
They also want to build out the town’s mineral springs and create several CBD-infused water pools, expand an existing solar farm, and ensure there is enough lodging for future tourists.
And it’s not just Nipton they want to transform. They hope to change the entire region and make cannabis-based towns more acceptable and popular. “We want to revitalize the region, not the town,” Shearin said, “and we want to do it in a way that other towns can say, ‘Look at that, they have this regulatory system that allows them to embrace cannabis while not offending people who may not be of that mindset.’”
For now, they are moving forward within California’s legal framework. Though President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to crack down on legal cannabis, his future in the administration is uncertain, and it’s difficult to imagine a state like California giving up its recent voter decision to legalize the plant.
Fittingly, Nipton used to be a gold rush town. As Shearin said, “The Gold Rush built this city. The Green Rush can keep it moving the way people envisioned it years ago.” And he hopes to do it elsewhere:
“The plan is absolutely to duplicate this model in new cities.”