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Laura Cavaness sweeps out a lodge at the Hotel Nipton, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Nipton, Calif. American Green Inc., one of the nation's largest cannabis companies, announced it has bought the entire 80 acre California desert town of Nipton. (AP Photo/John Locher)

This cannabis company wants to start a 'green rush' by making a tiny desert town into a pot paradise


The tiny California desert town of Nipton was created during the gold rush, but thanks to a pending deal with one of the country's largest cannabis companies, its next rush will be much more green.

American Green Inc. announced that it will buy all 80-acres of Nipton, located along the California-Nevada border just south of Las Vegas. The company will be the sole owner of the town's old west hotel, an RV park, coffee shop and a few houses. It aims to transform the town into "an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination."

"We are excited to lead the charge for a true Green Rush," said David Gwyther," American Green president and CEO David Gwyther in a statement. "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."

Roxanne Lang, Nipton's current owner, would not reveal the price of the sale before it closes, but she did note her now deceased husband Gerald Freeman had listed the property at $5 million last year. She noted that her late husband, a Libertarian, would probably be amused at the idea of a pot company buying up his little town.

"I think he would find a lot of humor in that," said Lang, noting Freeman had no issue with people using marijuana and was himself a supporter of green energy. He'd installed Nipton's solar farm himself, which now powers much of the town.

American Green plans to expand Nipton's farm and sell cannabis-infused water from the town's local aquifer. The company is also reaching out to edible makers and other pot industry businesses to see if they would like to relocate to Nipton, potentially brining new jobs with them. The town is currently home to less than two dozen residents, and drives much of its revenue from the sale of California Lottery tickets, which can't be bought across the border in Nevada.

Nipton was founded in the early 1900s after precious metals were discovered nearby, but it quickly became a ghost town by the 1950s. It's location 60 miles south of Las Vegas and 10 miles off the major highway connecting to Los Angeles did not help its economic prospects. Freeman, a geologist by trade, bought the town in 1985 and went to restoring it. It has since charmed tourists with its old west feel, but the new Green Rush could make the small town the center of the next big rush.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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