Weed Scholarships at Colorado State University-Pueblo
Freshman Janet Calzadillas receives $1,000 a semester at Colorado State University-Pueblo. There are people uncomfortable with “weed money” but Calzadillas has no such concerns. She doesn’t care where the money comes from, just where it’s going.
“I don’t think without this scholarship I could continue my education without taking out loans and worrying about how to pay them back,” Calzadillas said.
Starting this spring, all students graduating high school in Pueblo County will qualify for a cannabis scholarship. Students can use this scholarship at local colleges. However, if President Trump moves to ban recreational pot, this scholarship will suffer, along with other benefits of pot sales taxes. Recreational weed will still sell, but it’ll happen on the black market. Which means no tax, and therefore no scholarships.
The Cannabis Business in Colorado
Cannabis is legal in Colorado for both medical and recreational purposes. Last year, the state’s weed sales hit $1.3 billion. That’s good business, by any standards. In the state, good weed business is turning out to be a blessing for college kids and budget-strapped cities.
Edgewater, a small Denver suburb, has six cannabis shops. They also draw business from neighboring towns that don’t allow weed sales. Edgewater alone is generating $1.4 million in sales tax revenue from cannabis. That’s 20 percent of the town’s annual budget! This money is helping the development of the community. It is funding the repaving of 12 miles of road, and the maintenance and expansion of city hall.
The Stigma of Weed Money
While the money from cannabis tax is creating new opportunities for many, there’s also a stigma attached to it. A shop owner in Denver, Tim Cullen, wanted to donate $200,000 to a non-profit. He wanted to give back to the community, but many in the community refused to take his money. Cullen confessed that he was shocked at first. “It was more difficult than I thought it would be,” he said.
In the end, a park accepted his donation to build a pavilion for free concerts. Cullen believes that the stigma isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “I think we’re years away from that being the case,” he told a CBS News reporter.
A Step Forward in Affordable Education
Colorado’s cannabis-funded college scholarship program for high school graduates is a great initiative to make college more affordable. As the Pueblo County Commissioners said in a statement: “It is so critically important to make college affordable for our youth if we want to provide long-term economic opportunity to our community. Too many kids can’t afford to go to college, with this program we are taking cannabis tax revenue and using it to provide for a brighter future in Pueblo.”
The scholarship’s first full year of funding will give about $475,000 to students. Each student will get about $1,000. After funding these 300-400 graduating students, any leftover funds are to be distributed based on merit.