Anyone who has paid any attention to discussions about marijuana legalization knows that tax revenues are one of the biggest arguments made by those who support the idea. So far, Colorado has become one of the biggest examples of what weed taxes can do for a state. This year, hundreds of students will receive college scholarships thanks to marijuana taxes.
Pueblo County Pot Taxes
This is the third year that Pueblo County, Colorado has used cannabis taxes to fund student scholarships. According to local news sources, 600 students in the county will receive scholarships this year.
Each of these students will receive their scholarship money from the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund. The public resource gets the huge majority of its funds from cannabis taxes in the county.
The Pueblo Chieftain reported that this year’s Pueblo County Scholarship Fund received around $700,000 from weed taxes. It got another $113,981 from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.
To receive one of the county’s scholarships, students must graduate from a high school in Pueblo County. Additionally, they must also attend either Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo.
In addition to funding scholarships for 600 new college students, the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund continues funding students who have already received scholarships and who are still in college.
The weed-funded scholarships were able to fund significantly more students this year than previous years. Over the last two years, the county was able to award between 300 and 400 students. This year, the number climbed to as many as 600.
The increase in the number of scholarships is the result of a similar spike in the amount of cannabis taxes the county generated.
“This year, we are increasing the dollar amount from $420,000 last year to the $700,000 from Pueblo County,” said Beverly Duran, executive director of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Fund. “This is really exciting.”
Final Hit: 600 Students Will Receive College Scholarships Thanks To Marijuana
Pueblo County began its cannabis scholarship program in 2015. That year, voters in the county approved a measure to introduce a five percent excise tax on marijuana sales.
At the time, it was the world’s first ever weed-funded scholarship program.
The tax is charged on all marijuana grown in Pueblo County. Cultivators pay the tax once when they first sell their product to a retailer or another manufacturer.
So far, the policy appears to be having a positive impact on the community. When the change was first introduced in 2015, there was some concern that it could cause tension with young students.
In particular, people thought there could be tension arising from the fact that students would be relying on legal weed for the education even though they wouldn’t actually be old enough to purchase it themselves.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they balance that, telling kids to stay away from these products until they’re 21 but creating a reliance on the product paying for their schooling,” Tyler Henson, president of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, said at the time.
In addition to these scholarships, other counties in Colorado have used cannabis tax revenues to fund programs to help the homeless, education programs, and other public programs.