The Marijuana Farm Next Door

Seven years ago, my wife and I purchased a half-acre tract of land adjacent to our house, entering the topsy-turvy world of real estate investment. It was never our intention to build anything on the property, despite our neighbors’ suggestions that one or more recreational entities would look simply smashing on it, provided they were built at our expense and open, free of charge, to the entire neighborhood.

The suggestions included:

  • An ice rink
  • A tennis court
  • A pool
  • Any of the above, as long as there was space left over for a tavern

Since putting the property on the market 18 months ago, we’ve had our share of realtors, builders and tire kickers happily willing to take it off our hands, for amounts far below the original purchase price. We’ve even had a few serious offers but have thus far declined. Patience is a trait we both share and we know the perfect buyer is out there, willing to pay the price we are seeking.

However, if desperate times arise and we need to unload the lot, I have a potential buyer in my sights: American Green, Inc.

The Arizona-based, cannabis-manufacturing company recently grabbed headlines by announcing it was purchasing the 80-acre village of Nipton, Calif., for approximately $5 million. The intent? Turn the entire town into, according to a company-distributed statement, a “first energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.” In other words, a stoner’s paradise.

Should this column reach the eyeballs of any American Green executives, let me start with the plusses. My lot is free of debris and excessive foliage that would need to be cleared prior to cultivation. So that bumper crop of pot could be planted whenever Illinois law permits. We can talk more about that shortly.

I’ve even installed underground sprinklers. How often does marijuana need watering? Sorry, I’m a complete novice so please don’t ask me to nourish the plants for you.

My lot sits in a terrific residential neighborhood, populated by middle and upper-class families. I’m not sure what my neighbors do behind closed doors, although, in some cases, I have my suspicions. My point is that you should have a steady stream of empty-nesters and baby boomers who want to occasionally partake for either medicinal purposes or the fact that their kids are FINALLY out of the house.

Will your dispensary have evening hours? I highly recommend that, for I know of a few people who would prefer making a purchase under cover of darkness.

I must also point out that my lot has accessible sewer and water hookup since one of your visions for Nipton is the bottling and distribution of cannabis-infused water. Should you bring that venture to my town, make sure the bottles are properly labeled so a parched, early morning jogger doesn’t make an errant purchase.

Of course, my property does have a few drawbacks. For starters, Illinois has not joined the ranks of eight states where recreational pot use is legal. But good news! Both the state house and senate have introduced bills making it allowable for persons 21 and older to grow, purchase or possess limited amounts. Turning those bills into law may take time, but this is Illinois you’re dealing with. It took my state three years just to pass a budget. And, as I mentioned, I’m not ready to sell just yet.

Feel free to come by and look at the property. True, my lot’s size and residential zoning restrictions will prohibit you from building just anything. And my lot doesn’t contain a school or general store, both of which you’ll inherit in Nipton when the purchase is final. But I think a cannabis-based school might raise some eyebrows in my subdivision. Better to install a Jacuzzi ’round back. Hot tubs are perfectly legal and could be used for those mineral baths your statement says you hope to offer.

If you like what you see, toss out a number. If I like what I hear, maybe we can do a deal this weekend. Then you can throw an open house, get a better sense of your customer base, and unveil plans for the final product.

I suspect a few neighbors would love to exercise on a pot-friendly tennis court.

Greg Schwem is a business humorist, motivational corporate comedian, corporate emcee, nationally syndicated humor columnist for Tribune Content Agency and creator of the web series, “A Comedian Crashes Your Pad.”

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