In November 2015, voters in Pueblo, Colorado approved an additional excise tax on marijuana sales with 60-percent approval. The excise tax will begin in 2017, and will gradually increase until it reaches 5-percent in 2020. Of that increased tax, 50-percent will be set aside for scholarships.
The city of Pueblo accounts for 3-percent of the state’s total recreational marijuana sales. It also accounts for 20-percent of the states total production of marijuana. Leaders in the marijuana cultivation industry agree that the tax is a smart initiative.
Deputy Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Taylor West, told The Christian Science Monitor, “Businesses in the cannabis industry are interested in showing that they are a contributing member of the overall economic community. So having the opportunity to contribute to something that will benefit the overall community is something they are willing to be supportive of. People are happy that the industry can make a contribution to the community.”
Pueblo County Commissioner, Sal Pace, says, “At the end of the day, who would rather have these funds go to Mexican drug cartels, instead of providing hope and opportunity to funding our kids’ education?” He goes on to say, “If we are cutting someone’s college education bill, they don’t necessarily know which dollar came from marijuana. The important thing is that more students will have the opportunity to pursue higher education.”
The scholarships will only be available to students who attend either Colorado State University in Pueblo or Pueblo Community College. Students must meet admission criteria and must be current Pueblo County students.