'Wonderland for potheads': town plans to cash in on dagga tourism

18 October 2017 - 12:09 By ANDREA NAGEL
Founded in the early 1900s gold rush, Nipton wants to become a 'desert wonderland' for potheads.
Founded in the early 1900s gold rush, Nipton wants to become a 'desert wonderland' for potheads.
Image: Bloomberg LP

In August an entire town in California was bought by American Green, a marijuana-focused technology and growing firm based in Arizona. The price tag: about $5-million. The company plans to make Nipton the ''first energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination" in the US.

Nipton's population numbers about 16 and until now their main source of revenue has been from the sale of California Lottery tickets to people from Nevada because they can't buy them there.

We want to turn Nipton into a desert wonderland for potheads and a distribution centre for marijuana-related products
American Green's Stephen Shearin

The company touts plans for hundreds of hotel rooms, mineral baths, a restaurant, a dinner theatre, a cannabis farm, a huge balloon to hoist visitors into the air and a "Green Express" - a passenger rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with a dinner stop in Nipton.

"We want to turn Nipton into a desert wonderland for potheads and a distribution centre for marijuana-related products," said American Green's Stephen Shearin.

First off the company will focus on bottling cannabis-infused water and on producing marijuana edibles. The cultivation of cannabis is next in the 18-month, $2.5-million development time frame.

David Gwyther, chairman and president of American Green, said: "The cannabis revolution in the US has the power to completely revitalise communities in the same way gold did during the 19th century."

Recreational marijuana was legalised last year in California and Nevada, but remains illegal according to federal law.

In South Africa the Western Cape High Court passed a ruling in March that allows possession, cultivation and private use of marijuana at home, but possession and use of the substance is still illegal in the rest of the country.

A GROWING INDUSTRY

Here's a sample of the wide range of quicky cannabis products available around the world:

Stick it where the sun don't shine

Foria has started producing marijuana tampons made with cocoa butter, distilled THC oil and an ingredient called CBD isolate which is grown from organic hemp.

Pot devices to give series a buzz

The Netflix Collection is a selection of cannabis varieties based on its shows. "Sillier shows may be more indica- dominant, while dramedies will be more sativa-dominant to help the more powerful scenes resonate," a press release read.

Dope, not dop, on the big day

Bloomberg Business says "open weed bars" are all the rage at weddings because marijuana is cheaper than alcohol, and guests get to ''toke with the bride".

Now for chewy chuckleweed

Beboe sells cannabis pastilles ($25) and single-use vaporisers ($60) in California.

• This article was originally published in The Times.