The legal cannabis industry is in a pretty weird place right now. It’s a literal multi-billion dollar industry but the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are not really down with legal or medical bud.
Despite Trump and Sessions’ promised crackdown on weed, the industry keeps on chuggin’ and now one company is buying a town in California.
Nipton, California, located right on the border of Cali and Nevada about 60 miles south of Vegas, is reportedly being purchased by American Green, a publicly traded cannabis company.
Apparently little Nipton, which has about two dozen residents, was put up for sale last year for $5 million.
No, I did not know that buying a town was a thing either, but apparently it’s very much a thing.
When Nipton was initially put up for sale, Tony Castrignano, broker at Sky Mesa Realty, who represented the town, told Las Vegas Review-Journal that the whole buying/selling a town thing is pretty straightforward:
“It’s sort of like buying a business… There’s two aspects to it. The land, which is worth X amount of dollars per acre. Then you have the businesses, and they generate income, so when we evaluated the sale price, we took that into consideration. Believe it or not, this town generates a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in profit.”
Ok, so you can buy towns.
Now that we’ve established that, what does American Green want from Nipton?
Basically, they’re trying to turn it into some sort of weed destination.
David Gwyther, chairman and CEO at American Green, outlined his plans in an official statement:
“[W]e are thrilled to begin work on this first-of-its-kind eco-tourism experience for conscious cannabis consumers.”
Gwyther goes on to compare the current “Cannabis Revolution” (eye roll) to the 19th century Gold Rush:
“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. This acquisition allows us to channel the myriad interests in cannabis production and consumption for an immediate positive impact to this community’s members and to cannabis consumers across the country.”
Ironically enough, Nipton was founded during the Gold Rush and the previous owners, Gerald Freeman and wife Roxanne Lang, were gold miners themselves.
This whole thing is interesting, but also reveals the discontents of legal cannabis.
While the wealthy proprietors of BIG WEED are buying entire towns, there are still people (mostly people of color in low-income areas) being arrested and prosecuted for carrying pot.
So, while I guess it’s cool that David Gwyther wants to create some sort of eco-tourist pot town, it’d be cool if we stopped arresting people for smoking a joint.