Colorado has been at the forefront of legal cannabis since it legalized adult use in 2012. Now, the state continues to lead to the way by using its cannabis tax revenue to fund higher education for its students.
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Pueblo County, CO, is breaking the mold with its initiative to provide higher education scholarships using tax income from the region’s cannabis growers. Starting in 2016, the predominantly agricultural county successfully trialled a scheme to provide scholarships to over 300 students. On the back of this success, the program was expanded the following year, and provided hundreds of more students with college scholarships. Now, 2018 looks bigger still.
Although Colorado has already found multiple uses for its cannabis tax revenue, from funding social programs and local government all the way to building schools and affordable housing; Pueblo County’s initiative is the first of its kind with regards to funding higher education. It’s impossible to understate the importance of a university education, but with costs being so prohibitive, college remains out of reach for many lower income students, regardless of their talent. Scholarships can make all the difference and now that cannabis is funding them, it’s just another fantastic example of how legalization can benefit us all.
So where is the money coming from exactly? The tax itself is drawn from cannabis cultivators in Pueblo County. That’s significant because the county is responsible for growing one-fifth of Colorado’s legal pot, so it’s no surprise that the fund is generating massive amounts of cash. In 2015, Pueblo residents voted to introduce an excise tax that at least half of which would be used to fund education. Since then the 5 percent tax, which is charged only once to cultivators making their first retail sale, has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In fact, this year the program brought in $700,000, which is also matched in part by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, part of the state’s higher education department. This sum is expected to be awarded to at least 600 students in 2018 with individual scholarships of between $1,000 to $2,000. And best of all, if you’re a high school senior in the Pueblo County who has been accepted into a local college or university, you’re automatically eligible. All you need to do is apply here.
With Pueblo County’s program garnering so much success, this is truly a shining example of what cannabis tax revenue can be used for. Hopefully, programs such as this will be taken up by other legal states and continue to grow and provide much needed financial assistance to students throughout the U.S.
Additionally, if you’re an undergrad or recent graduate looking to get into the cannabis industry, there are also internships you can apply for, like with SHO Products. Our interns learn the ins-and-outs of the cannabis industry by working with us 20 to 40 hours a week, ensuring a full hands-on experience. You’ll leave college and our internship ready to begin working in the industry full time. What are you waiting for? Apply here today!