Colorado Marijuana Taxes Are Sending Kids To College

November 6th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

College-bound students in Pueblo County, Colorado, will have a scholarship opportunity like no other starting in 2017—an opportunity funded by the state's legal marijuana industry.

RELATED: 11 Things Colorado Can Now Fund Thanks to Legal Marijuana

Voters in the county approved a five percent excise tax on local growing operations Wednesday, and that extra tax revenue will go toward higher education, the county clerk's office said. In order to qualify for the award, Pueblo County high school students must attend one of two public colleges in the county.

Legal marijuana is doing awesome things for Colorado residents.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, November 5, 2015

The county expects to raise $3.5 million a year for the scholarship fund by 2020, and supporters estimate that 400 students will receive about $1,000 a year from the fund, depending on how many apply. The goal of the tax increase is to "make college affordable for everyone in our community," Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said in a statement.

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Some have expressed uncertainty about the idea of having scholarship awards backed by an industry that remains federally illegal and markets products that are available only to those 21 and older in Colorado. But supporters say it's no different than those sponsored by the alcohol industry.

Except that it is different. It would be the first of its kind, for one. Considering that there are more than 1,800 alcohol-related deaths of college students each year according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—and none from cannabis—it seems like the kind of thing that should be even less controversial than alcohol scholarships.

Colorado dispensary

Each year under the plan, at least 50 percent of pot tax revenue will be set aside as cash for scholarships, Reuters reported. The remaining tax revenue will go toward medical marijuana research, road and hiking trail upgrades, restoring a historic courthouse and other public improvement projects.

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ATTN: recently reported on the long list of public services and programs that marijuana tax revenue is funding in Colorado, including school construction, anti-bullying programs, and law enforcement training.

The state is one of four, plus the District of Columbia, where recreational pot is legal. Not only has the system proved popular and profitable, but the responsible allocation of marijuana tax revenue in Colorado has served as a shining example for the rest of the country, which is increasingly accepting of legal cannabis.

ALSO: What Marijuana Does to Cancer Cells