Cannabis Tax Revenues Are Helping People Go To College In Colorado
It is no secret that college is expensive. The average cost of attending a four-year public university was over $28,000 per year in 2015.
That's an enormous hurdle to overcome.
In Pueblo County, Colorado, the cannabis industry is helping students with this financial burden.
The world's first college scholarship program funded by cannabis taxes
Voters in Pueblo County, Colorado, passed an initiative in 2015 which created an excise tax that has been applied to all cannabis that has been exported out of the county.
The tax revenue is split in half, with one half going to the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund and the other half going towards capital community development project fund.
2016-2017 was the first school year that the scholarship fund awarded scholarships, with 25 students each receiving a $1,000 scholarship from cannabis taxes.
In order to qualify for the scholarship, the student has to reside in Pueblo County and be enrolled to attend either Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo.
2017-2018 will see even more scholarships handed out
The cannabis industry is booming in Pueblo County, Colorado, and the excise tax rate that funds the college scholarship program has doubled.
This upcoming school year will see the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund hand out $475,000 in scholarships. If anyone was looking for an example of how cannabis legalization benefits people that don't consume cannabis, I think you have it.
The cannabis industry provides much needed jobs to hardworking people, and in Pueblo County, Colorado, it's also helping people gain skills that will benefit them in their careers regardless if it's in the cannabis industry or not.
Even the most hard-line cannabis opponent can't find a downside to what is going on. Depending on the program, a $1,000 scholarship can pay for a four credit course at Pueblo Community College.
Every penny counts when someone is in college. Anyone who has attended college will tell you that. The cannabis industry in Pueblo County is helping give people a chance who otherwise would not get one, which is inspiring.
Will other areas follow suit?
I am not a fan of taxing cannabis just for the sake of generating revenue. If a tax is going to be levied on cannabis, it firstly should not apply to patient purchases, and needs to go directly to an area of great need.
A small cannabis tax that goes directly to giving young people financial assistance to go to college is a very worthwhile thing and I support it 100%.
I would love to see other municipalities step up and do something similar. It doesn't necessarily have to be for college.
In Oregon, my home state, 40% of all tax revenues generated by the state cannabis tax goes to the Common School Fund (public school system).
Oregon generated over $60 million dollars in cannabis taxes last year, which equates to roughly $24 million dollars for public schools.
Can you name a state in America that doesn't need $24 million dollars? How many school supplies does that buy? How many after school programs does it fund? Why isn't every state doing this?
Do you think every state should legalize cannabis?