Legal marijuana sales have been an unbelievable financial boon to Colorado’s economy. In 2015, the state had $996,184,788 in marijuana sales. All of that money is heavily taxed, bringing in massive amounts of funds to the government. Colorado collected more than $135 million in marijuana taxes and fees in 2015, of which more than $35 million was used on school construction projects. Now the sale of weed is also giving money for students to attend college.
What is being hailed as the first of its kind across the nation, there is a scholarship program completely funded by excise marijuana tax. The groundbreaking program is headed by the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF). They are currently accepting applications and it will award their inaugural group of scholarship recipients later this month.
In order to qualify for this scholarship, you must be a Pueblo city or county student and planning to attend a college in Pueblo. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and perform 40 hours of community service to a non-profit agency. There will be 25 recipients of the $25,000 in weed money.
Despite the unfair negative stigma of marijuana, the program is being welcomed with open arms.
“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,” County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen said.
“Every kid deserves an opportunity to succeed. College debt has surpassed even credit card debt in America. Middle class families find it hard to send their kids to college, a basic cornerstone of the American Dream. We’re aiming to help alleviate that problem,” Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said.
“We just see such a great need in our community and we can never scholarship as many students as we would like to. So this money is going to have a huge impact on the number of students that we can help in affording college,” Executive Director of Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation Beverly Duran said.
“Regulating and taxing above-ground market sales of cannabis like other retail commodities allows for lawmakers to establish legal parameters regarding where, when, and how an adult cannabis market may operate, permits greater safety and transparency for both the consumer and the seller, and redirects revenue from the black market to the greater community,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Deputy Director Paul Armentano said.
Applicants have until the end of the month to apply. You can do so here.
This is the beauty of giving states the ability to make their own laws. It’s like having 50 experimental labs that we can test programs to see what works and what doesn’t. And if they work, such as the legalization of marijuana, they should then be enacted on a nationwide level.
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