|Nipton, Calif. (Wikipedia map)|
The former mining hamlet, population 20, is a three-hour drive from Los Angeles and an hour from Las Vegas. Project manager Stephen Shearin says he hopes increasing mainstream acceptance of marijuana could make the town profitable. "The Gold Rush built this city," he told Kaplan. "The Green Rush can keep it moving the way people envisioned it years ago."
Recreational marijuana is now legal on some level in seven states, but some Americans continue to be leery. American Green says it embarked on this project in part to educate the public about the benefits of the plant and appeal to a broader audience. The company, which paid $5 million for Nipton, says it plans to invest up to $2.5 million over the next 18 months to revitalize the town, using both existing buildings and new ones powered by renewable energy. Their plans 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," Kaplan reports.
American Green and other cannabis product companies are hopeful about the future, but wary that government intervention might halt sales. Though marijuana is illegal at the federal level, President Barack Obama had a hands-off policy toward businesses operating in states where marijuana was legal. President Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions is notoriously anti-marijuana, though, and may order a crackdown.