Last Tuesday, Pueblo County voters in Colorado agreed to increase the tax on marijuana growers by 5 percent. The total tax percentage will go up from 15% to 20% by 2020. The voters also agreed on a measure to allocate the increased marijuana grow tax to fund college scholarships and other projects by 2017.
The projected revenue from this tax increase is said to be $3.5 million, half of which will go to for students to attend their local public colleges. This scholarship is the first of its kind since it is being funded by a state tax and by a product that was once considered illegal in that state. Paris Carmichael, a spokesperson for Pueblo County, says that this scholarship program was initiated to make college a reality for those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
The scholarship will provide assistant to up to 400 students each year by giving them $1000 each per year. In order to quality for the scholarship, the student must be a citizen of Pueblo County and must attend one of the two public schools – Colorado State University and Pueblo Community College. As of right now, there is no application process, but you must meet the above mentioned qualifications.
The rest of the extra revenue will go to community projects, including enhancing local playgrounds, study funding for the AmTrak route in Pueblo County, and new golf carts in the local golf course. The increased revenue from the marijuana grow tax to fund scholarships is a positive thing for Pueblo County, but they will face some challenges while rolling this out. Tyler Henson, President of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, says Pueblo County has a particular tough job ahead of them. They will have to manage educating minors in the community to stay away from recreational marijuana, while at the same time promoting the growth and development of the marijuana industry.