The tiny town of Nipton, California is getting a cannabis-friendly makeover, courtesy of the second oldest and the largest publicly-traded cannabis company in the U.S.
American Green made waves this summer by becoming the first company to purchase an entire town – at a price of $5 million – in the interest of capitalizing on the emerging cannabis tourism industry.
Now, the company is shedding further light on its plans to modernize the 100-year-old community in San Bernardino county into the country’s first cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.
“It’s going to be a destination where people can bring and consume cannabis responsibly ... and where cannabis businesses can thrive,” Mike Rosati of American Green told Civilized. “We are bringing in partners to help us manage various aspects ... but [we’re thinking] exhibits and performances and activities like ganja yoga and painting and pottery classes.
“We’re also exploring the idea of rock star chefs coming through for special dinners and events.”
Boasting over 120 acres 10 minutes off of busy Interstate 15 – and just 64 miles south of Las Vegas – Nipton offers ample potential for development, said Rosati. American Green has already enlisted Las Vegas-based events managers Munch & Company as its official hospitality partner.
According to a press release announcing the partnership, Munch & Company will be “instrumental in modernizing [existing Nipton businesses including] the General Store, the Whistle Stop Café & Saloon, the RV Park and camping sites, and the nearby bed and breakfast Hotel Nipton.”
Munch & Company will also “oversee the due diligence for all cannabis programs and events and will ensure that Nipton is able to offer the widest variety of cannabis consumption and enjoyment opportunities within the limits of the law.”
Speaking of the legal aspect of converting a town to a cannabis resort, it's complicated – to say the least.
Since Nipton is unincorporated – with a population of just 16 people – the town will not be able to grow and sell cannabis openly. That means visitors will have to bring their own cannabis to the resort town – for now.
“Moving forward, we’ll be sitting down with the county of San Bernardino and all the power that be – sheriffs, highway patrol, county boards and nearby mayors – to work through that process,” said Rosati. “I think we have some compelling stuff to share with them. We’ll be fully compliant with what the state is setting forth, of course, but we’re really looking forward to the changes coming in 2018.”
California voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use last November. The new legislation will take effect in January of 2018, at which time American Green plans to start taking steps toward transforming Nipton into an “effective hub for the production of various cannabis-based products as well as possible fully-licensed cultivation.”
Initially, American Green and Nipton plan to focus on the bottling of fresh CBD-infused water direct from a nearby aquifer, which the company will then seek to distribute throughout California. Discussions are also underway with several edible and extraction companies that have expressed interest in having production facilities in the town, as well.
Ultimately, the company would like to offer a “variety of commercial and recreational attractions including CBD and mineral baths, cannabis-product retail outposts, artists-in-residence programs, culinary events and bed-and-breakfast lodging.”
Nipton’s future plans include expanding the existing solar farm to move Nipton toward becoming a completely energy-independent town, including the development of the town’s existing aquifer system for water supply.
“We are excited to lead the charge for a true ‘Green Rush’,” said David Gwyther, chairman and president of American Green, in a press release. “The Cannabis Revolution that’s going on here in the US, has the power to completely revitalize communities in the same way gold did during the 19th century ... We are thrilled to begin work on this first-of-its-kind eco-tourism experience for conscious cannabis consumers.”