There's green in them thar hills, or at least there will be now that one of the country's biggest marijuana companies has announced it's buying the tiny Mojave Desert town of Nipton in order to turn it into a cannabis consumption and producing mecca.
"We are excited to lead the charge for a true 'Green Rush,'" said David Gwyther, chairman and president of American Green after the announcement that it had acquired the century-old community. Nipton, which is located near the California/Nevada border in San Bernardino County, was founded in the early 1900s after gold was found nearby.
The company, which says it is the second oldest and largest publicly traded marijuana business in the U.S., plans to modernize the 80-acre town that boasts some 20 residents and make it the "country's first energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination," and a hub for the manufacture of pot products, according to a press release.
The new enterprises will include a plant to bottle water infused with CBD, which is a cannabis compound with medical benefits that does not make users feel high, productions facilities for edible and extractions companies and possibly the fully-licensed cultivation of crops.
Also included are mineral baths, stores, bed and breakfast lodging, artist-in-resident programs and food events all aimed at making the Old-West town a pot paradise.
Currently, one of the town's biggest sources of income is the general store that sells California Lottery tickets to people who cross the border from Nevada.
American Green said its project will create jobs and be a model of the marijuana industry's role in "stimulating and accelerating the rebuilding of struggling small town economies" where the drug has been legalized.
The town's current owner Roxanne Lang told the Associated Press that she and her late husband Gerald Freeman had listed Nipton for sale for $5 million but she declined to say what the final price was.
Freeman, who was a geologist from Los Angeles, bought the ghost town in 1985, restored its hotel and store and built eco-freindly cabins, making the tiny outpost a popular destination for fans of the desert and California history. It sits 60 miles south of Las Vegas and about ten miles off Interstate 15.
"I like to say it's conveniently located in the middle of nowhere," said Lang.
American Green said the Nipton project is one of the biggest initiatives the company has ever undertaken and it hopes that people will flock to the destination much like thousands did when that gold was found in those hills.
"We are thrilled to begin work on this first-of-its-kind eco-tourism experience for conscious cannabis consumers," company officials said.