Will California be the next marijuana paradise?
Yes, if American Green has anything to say about it.
Nipton is—and has been—a strategic outpost on the California/Nevada border since the Gold Rush. The town was established in 1905 as a railway pit stop. Not long after, gold was discovered in the area, though it never truly flourished. The tiny town was home to just a few buildings, a hotel and a general store.
Now, Nipton could truly realize its full potential—not as a Gold Rush-era ghost town, but as a hub for the soon-to-be booming weed tourism that is about to descend on California.
“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,” said David Gwyther, president of American Green, in a statement.
Gwyther hopes the town, which American Green purchased for $5 million, will be part of what he has dubbed the “Green Rush”—the impending tourism boom that is coming to California when marijuana becomes legal in the state.
Four states voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana during the last election. In conjunction with other states that already allow the use of recreational weed, one-fifth of the U.S. population now lives where marijuana is legal, despite the fact that the federal government still deems its use as against the law.
The company purchased 120 acres around the city, including a hotel, a general store, mineral baths and more—all with the idea of converting it into a top marijuana destination.
There are other “green” strategies at play as well. American Green also plans to take Nipton off the grid after purchasing a solar farm, which it intends to use to completely power its new marijuana outpost. The company also hopes to develop the town’s existing aquifer for water usage.
American Green wasn’t the first company to dream of taking this place off the grid, however.
Gerald Freeman, the town’s previous owner, purchased Nipton more than 30 years ago. A miner from Malibu, California, he owned Nipton when it was merely a ghost town on the California/Nevada border. His dream was to use renewable energy to power the town, then inhabited by between 30 to 70 people.
“The more independent we can become of outside resources, the better,” Freeman told the New York Times in 2014. “I’ve been conscious of the global warming issue since my early days in school. It’s only now beginning to be so much part of the present day. People are slow to adapt to an oncoming reality.”
Freeman originally purchased Nipton for its outstanding natural resources, including a Pleistocene-era underground lake that had an abundance of water. In addition to its history as a Gold Rush outpost, the town also played a part in the silent movie era. The hotel hosted Clara Bow, who owned a ranch nearby.
Freeman has since passed away, and his wife sold the town to American Green when it became too much to manage.