Thanks to the nation’s first ever marijuana scholarships, students in Colorado could get part of their college education paid for entirely by marijuana tax money.
Any student living in Pueblo County, Colorado and planning to attend a college in Pueblo can now apply for the new scholarship.
The program is funded entirely by cannabis sales tax money. This year, the county is dividing $25,000 into 25 individual $1,000 scholarships.
Local lawmakers see the new program as a good way to use the state’s legal marijuana sales to help the community.
“Families have had it hard here in Pueblo. We’re excited to be part of the solution, to reduce debt on students, to make sure they can afford college and also bring a lot of life to our own community,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen.
Marijuana scholarships grow like a “weed”
After this year’s round of marijuana scholarships, the county plans on growing the program so it can reach more students.
McFadyen said the program plans on receiving around $700,000 from marijuana taxes next year. She also said the county is applying for a grant that could grow the program to over a million dollars in the next few years.
“This reinvestment in our community, this wise use of money we couldn’t do anything better,” she said.
These new marijuana scholarships are the latest example of some of the ways Colorado benefits from marijuana tax revenues.
Colorado made just under $1 billion from legal marijuana last year. Those sales generated more than $135 million in taxes and fees. A large portion of those funds are devoted to projects like school construction and now, thanks to this new program, scholarships.
Taxes have become an important part of the conversation about legalizing cannabis.
One Colorado official recently said that marijuana taxes are only a drop in the much larger bucket of the state’s budget.
In a conversation with representatives from other states, he claimed that pot taxes don’t make as big a difference as some might assume.
But others seem to think that marijuana taxes have a much bigger impact than that official gave them credit for.
McFadyen said that the new marijuana scholarships could make a big impact in her community.
Beverly Duran, Executive Director of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, agrees.
“This money is going to have a huge impact on the number of students that we can help in affording college,” she said.