The marijuana industry is putting a big smile on the faces of high school students in Pueblo, Colorado this year, and no, it’s not what you think. The city has voted to use the revenue from a cannabis excise tax in order to provide about $475,000 in scholarship money to offer to students attending local universities. Only $50,000 is being offered through state funds, the rest of the scholarship is coming straight from cannabis industry revenue.
That’s a big deal to the students of Pueblo County. Any student who qualifies for the marijuana funded scholarship can expect to be given at least $1000, with more possible depending on need. Its a huge chunk of the tuition at the two schools student can use funds at: $3,000 per year at Pueblo Community College and $6,000 a year at Colorado State University – Pueblo.
County Commissioners in the city say they are thrilled to see this scholarship roll out. Commissioner Sal Pace told KKTV in an interview:
“A couple years ago, these are dollars that would have been going to the black market, drug cartels…now money that used to fund drug cartels is being used to fund college scholarships.”
There’s more good news, too. Currently, the marijuana excise tax in the county is totaled at 2% for product sold by growers to retailers. But that rate is set to increase by 1% per year until it reaches 5%. That means the scholarship money is set to grow – and by a lot.
Pace added in his interview:
“It will grow annually because the excise tax increases annually. We also expect many new farms to come online this year. Only roughly half of the licensed farms were operational in 2016.”
The move was an excellent demonstration by county officials of how the cannabis industry can be used to generate valuable revenue for government to use to benefit communities and peoples’ lives. Way to go Pueblo!