Cannabis company plans to turn desert town into pot paradise

NIPTON, Calif. (AP) — Now that one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies has bought the entire California desert town of Nipton, a question remains: Will the new owners rename the place Potsylvania?

The name Weed already belongs to an old mill town in Northern California.

American Green Inc. announced Thursday it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop. Its plans are to transform the old Gold Rush town into what it calls “an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”

The town’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, said the sale is still in escrow, but confirmed American Green is the buyer. She declined to reveal price before the sale closes, but noted she and her late husband, Gerald Freeman, listed the property at $5 million when they put it up for sale last year.

Asked what her husband would think of the buyers’ plans to turn Nipton into the pot paradise of the California desert, she laughed heartily.

“I think he would find a lot of humor in that,” she finally said, adding that as a Libertarian Freeman had no problem with people using marijuana, and as a proponent of green power he’d be all in favor of energy independence. Over the years he’d installed a solar farm himself that provides much of the tiny town’s electricity.

American Green says it plans to expand that farm and also bottle and sell cannabis-infused water from Nipton’s plentiful aquifer, joint moves that would make the town green in more ways than one.

The buyers are also reaching out to edibles manufacturers and other pot-industry businesses, hoping they’ll be interested in relocating to Nipton and bringing jobs with them.

The town’s current residents number fewer than two dozen and one of its major sources of revenue is the California Lottery tickets the general store sells to people who cross the state line from Nevada because they can’t buy them there.

“We are excited to lead the charge for a true…

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