76°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Nipton on track to be cannabis-friendly, energy-efficient community

Nipton, California, the tiny, historic town 10 miles south of Primm, was for sale for three years before being bought last year by a Phoenix-based company that promotes grass, and we’re not talking about the kind you have to nag your kids to mow.

American Green is a publicly traded company that facilitates the sale of marijuana through emerging technology, and it operates a cultivation facility in Phoenix. It is investing in the town’s infrastructure and plans on making it a model for cannabis-friendly communities while continuing to draw visitors and attracting new full-time residents.

Stephen Shearin, the town’s general manager and the former CEO of American Green, said Nipton won’t be developed as a marijuana farm, but its Old West charm will be cultivated to create a green destination.

Tourism always has been a big draw for Nipton, with visitors from faraway lands seeking to experience the Old West, as well as those from Southern Nevada seeking lottery tickets. And, now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, Shearin sees nothing but blue skies ahead, despite U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to rescind the Obama administration’s policies that called for minimal federal interference.

“I think it will ultimately have a positive impact, because it’s such an outrageous statement, and ultimately it will force the conversation back to the surface. We’re creating cannabis refugees. Who forces that upon their citizens?”

The 80-acre village is over 100 years old and sits at the eastern entrance to The Mojave National Preserve. It has several buildings, a general store, café, five-room hotel, a recreational park and some small “EcoLodges” where visitors stay, some for long stretches of time. It is home to an estimated 30 to 40 full-time residents, and Shearin envisions a mix of even more long-term residents, if he can figure out where to put them.

American Green paid $5 million for Nipton, or about $75,000 per acre. “You can get other property in California for $500 an acre,” Shearin said, adding that San Bernardino County is the largest in the U.S. and is heavily vested in preventing illegal growing activity. “Nipton’s success doesn’t live or die on its ability to cultivate, any more than San Francisco needed to have a gold mine to grow as a center point of the gold rush.”

You can’t purchase marijuana at any of the American Green-owned entities in Nipton, including the café and store, because of federal restrictions that might negatively impact the company’s ability to trade stock. Shearin, however, said the company is open to the possibility of a licensed company opening a dispensary somewhere within the town limits.

Since the sale, American Green has refurbished the hotel with new hardwood floors and upgraded baths, serviced the septic system and is expanding the existing solar system with a goal of eventual energy-independence for Nipton, making it a model of energy-efficiency and environmentally responsible tourism.

The community’s only café will reopen under the new management of Munch &Co., which reportedly obtained the secret recipe for its popular hamburger.

Immediately after the sale, the company released a statement promising Nipton would become “the country’s first cannabis-friendly, energy-independent hospitality destination,” but that doesn’t exclude non-users, Shearin said. He stresses that Nipton welcomes both cannabis users and those who abstain.

”It doesn’t have anything to do with cannabis so much as respect,” he said. “By no means should the family of four, who wants to see historic Nipton and enjoy the high desert, feel as though they’d be uncomfortable in a town any more than anyone in a town should feel uncomfortable when somebody walks past and made an offhand comment about loser stoners. That has more to do with respect than laws.”

Shearin hasn’t limited American Green’s sights to the hospitality market. He says about one in four visitors who comes with the intent to stay actually does so, and the company is eager to cultivate long-term residents, including workers from local mines.

”We fully expect to acquire additional real estate to build additional housing to support hundreds, if not a couple thousand more people in the area, gainfully employed.”

He predicts a population of 2,000 residents eventually.

“I think between two and a half to five years you’ll see 2,000 people living and working and paying taxes in a vibrant economy.”

This is partly based on an existing housing need for workers at the nearby Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine and the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

“We are seriously pressed for housing,” Shearin said. “Between the mine, the businesses we have going on and the interest in the town and the products we’re using and setting up, we’ve got 150 people we could be renting or selling to right now. It’s a good problem to have.”

Depending on timing, Shearin said “buying another town is at the top of the agenda. But we’re still putting together the instruction manual for how to acquire a town.”

Shearin has assembled a task force of experienced professionals, including Doug McLaughlin, a retired Long Beach building supervisor, consulting on engineering; and Angie Donahue, a commercial Realtor specialist in “gentrification and green remediation,” to create a blueprint for a private enterprise buying and then running a town.

”As we put in a town manager, we set up protocols for meetings and creating a functioning town, we’re taking meticulous notes so that when we acquire the next town, we’re doing it based on what we know, not guessing at,” Shearin said.

Colorado, which has had legal recreational marijuana for several years, is experiencing a “tiny hemp house movement,” and Shearin envisions the small homes fitting right into Nipton’s RV spaces. He is also enthusiastic about building residential housing made from recycled materials and Hempcrete, a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. It is used as insulation and weighs considerably less than concrete. It has been around for centuries and used all over the world.

Shearin speculates that within legal restrictions, they might offer educational, demonstration-type cannabis gardens.

“Folks have never been up close to that,” he said.

But don’t let him hear you speak of Nipton in terms of “development.” It will never resemble a master-planned community. “Nipton is a town that has been around for 130 years and needs to grow and evolve as a town, not as a development.”

He wants Nipton to reflect its rural, Western flavor and the character of the residents who have contributed to it “as opposed to making it ‘American Green Town.’ That’s not our intention at all, because if American Green goes away, it has to stand on its own.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Real Estate Millions Videos
Real Estate Millions: 2019 New American Remodel
Real Estate Millions: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort - VIDEO
Various RV owners living in the community of the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resorts gives the crew a tour of their motor homes.
Real Estate Millions: Brett Raymer's Tanked Home - VIDEO
Brett Raymer from the TV show "Tanked" gives us a look into his 4 story home on the edge of Lone mountain. What would a tanked home be without a 700-gallon custom aquarium in the kitchen and a 6,000-gallon Koi pond in its resort-style backyard.
Real Estate Millions: 460 Probst Way
460 Probst Way is listed for $4.5 million and has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, 4 car garage and is 6,738 square feet. The home is in a gated compound with an outdoor pool, deck, and kitchen with near 360 degree of the las vegas valley. The house will be auctioned on April 26-29th.
Real Estate Millions: Home + History Tour - VIDEO
A 1963 Paradise Palms home. Originally called the Monterey, the open floor plan features a living, dining and kitchen area in main living area, original hardwood flooring, original central vac system, both master bathrooms have original starburst tile and vanities, fully renovated kitchen with quartz counters and new appliances, waterfall edge island with counter seating, ‘Cosmos,’ a Soviet-inspired lounge with fog machine, laser lights, sound system and full bar, fresh paint, retro furnishings, new carpet, pool, pool deck with seating and covered bar, lifetime block and steel construction.
Real Estate Millions: Jim Rhodes Home Most Expensive In Las Vegas - VIDEO
Jim Rhodes has created the most expensive home on the market in Las Vegas. The home is listed at $29,995,000, 9,798 sq. ft., 8 Bedrooms, 8 Full Baths, 2 Half Baths and has 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip.
Pawn Stars Rick Harrison Real Estate Millions - VIDEO
Reality TV star Rick Harrison from Pawn Stars shows his eccentric home off in the Red Rock Country Club. The house is 8,845 square feet. It has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three additional rooms. It is listed at $3,999,999.
Real Estate Millions: Boulder City Home (613 Lido Dr) - VIDEO
Sitting on top of a mountain overlooking the Lake Mead recreation area, Scott Baranoff gives a tour of his 4,655 square feet Frank Lloyd-Wright inspired home in Boulder City.
Real Estate Millions: Hard Luck Mine Castle
Real Estate Millions: Flip or Flop Vegas
Real Estate Millions: Myron Martin
Real Estate Millions: $15M Palms Place Penthouse
Phil Maloof’s Palms Place Penthouse, which takes up the entire 59th-floor, is for sale for $15 million. (Samia DeCubas/Real Estate Millions)
Real Estate Millions: The New American Home 2019
Real Estate Millions: The highest-priced condos sold in Las Vegas in 2018
Real Estate Millions: One Queensridge Place
Real Estate Millions: 1210 Macdonald Ranch
Real Estate Millions: Jonathan Marchessault
Vegas Golden Knight Jonathan Marchessault, shows off his Summerlin home.
Real Estate Millions: Say Yes To The Nest
Camila and Brent Lincowski have planted roots in the Las Vegas area with a $1.5 million home in Henderson.
Real Estate Millions: KB Smart Home
KB Homes and Google have teamed up to create a smart home.
Marc-Andre Fleury selling Las Vegas home for $2.5M - VIDEO
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has put his custom Southern Highlands home on the market for $2.5 million. The single-story home, built on a .63-acre lot in 2015, measures 5,285 square feet and has a 717-square-foot casita and three-car garage. It has five bedrooms and six baths. Fleury bought the home from former NHL player and fellow Canadian Sheldon Souray, according to public records. When he signed his three-year, $25M contract extension over the summer, Fleury told the media he and his family love Las Vegas and cited its great schools and neighborhoods with a lot of things for kids to do. Fleury said he and his family love their home in Southern Highlands, but wanted to be “closer to the Summerlin area." Home photos courtesy of Ivan Sher Group
Marc-Andre Fleury selling Las Vegas home for $2.5M - VIDEO
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has put his custom Southern Highlands home on the market for $2.5 million. The single-story home, built on a .63-acre lot in 2015, measures 5,285 square feet and has a 717-square-foot casita and three-car garage. It has five bedrooms and six baths. Fleury bought the home from former NHL player and fellow Canadian Sheldon Souray, according to public records. When he signed his three-year, $25M contract extension over the summer, Fleury told the media he and his family love Las Vegas and cited its great schools and neighborhoods with a lot of things for kids to do. Fleury said he and his family love their home in Southern Highlands, but wanted to be “closer to the Summerlin area." Home photos courtesy of Ivan Sher Group
Real Estate Millions: Waldorf Astoria penthouses
Real Estate Millions: Cold Creek Log House
Real Estate Millions: Brett Torino Christmas
Real Estate Millions: Pia Zadora
Real Estate Millions: Lake Las Vegas
Real Estate Millions: 27 Burning Tree Court in Spanish Trail
LEED home
Real Estate Millions: Top 10 Most Expensive Homes Sold In 2018
Real Estate Millions: Operation Halloween
Realtor and owner of Operation Halloween, Nicole Tomlinson, shares high-end luxury 'tricks of the trade' for Halloween decorating.
Real Estate Millions: Ascaya Pool Home
$15.5M Ascaya home has 5,900-square-foot pool.
Rat Pack-era home once housed Las Vegas entertainers
3671 Tioga Way in Paradise Palms neighborhood Listed for $650,000 Professional photographers Mark and Sarah Gascoine
Home builder Toll Brothers has plans in Summerlin
Toll Brothers purchased of 128 acres of property near Mesa Park Drive and Town Center Drive will be used for a housing development. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
 
New American Remodel built for energy efficiency — VIDEO

In seeking a Las Vegas home to turn into a state-of-the-art, high-end luxury remodel, architect Michael Gardner chose what he referred to as a “poorly built” 1950s single-story downtown ranch home on a property with well and water rights in an agriculturally designated area.

 
Las Vegas motorcoach resort offers luxury amenities

The Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort has elevated the RV lifestyle to a fine art, with amenities like a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, a 24-hour guard gate and concierge services.

 
‘Tanked’ star Brett Raymer lists home for $3.2M

You haven’t seen or heard the last of Brett Raymer. The quick-talking and energetic former co-star of the Animal Planet reality television show “Tanked” can only been seen on reruns for now. The show recently announced its cancellation after 15 seasons and more than 150 episodes.

Luxury master-planned communities continue to thrive

The Las Vegas luxury real estate market had its strongest year since the Great Recession and shows no signs of slowing in 2019.

 
Hilltop resort has room for limo: Auction is this weekend

Sunsets are spectacular from inside the 7,400 square feet of glam and palatial splendor known as Sapphire Oasis at the eastern edge of the valley.

Home + History Tour set for April 26-28

Many of these historic homes and neighborhoods are on display during the fifth annual Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History event April 26-28.

 
Gearing up for midcentury modern week

Retro to the last detail, David Ibarra and his husband, Jeff Andrews’s, 1963 rancher has a cool, hip, space-age vibe.