College is very expensive these days, but fortunately for hundreds of students in Pueblo County, Colorado the cannabis industry is there to help.
564 students received scholarships from a program that is funded by Pueblo County's cannabis excise tax.
In total, the program paid out $624,000 for scholarships for the upcoming academic year.
The program was expecting a bit more funding back in March, but the program is still an overwhelming success regardless.
Every bit of education financial assistance helps
The scholarships were awarded on a merit system, with individual scholarships ranging between $500 and $5,000.
At $624,000 for 564 scholarships, each award averages out to a little over $1,100 per scholarship.
That may not sound like much considering how much a year of college tuition costs at most universities, but it is still very helpful.
Every dollar counts when you are a struggling college student. $500-5,000 may not equate to a full ride at a university but it does help students purchase books and/or class credits.
Receiving a scholarship also provides a boost to an aspiring college student's confidence, which goes well beyond the direct financial benefit of receiving a scholarship.
The Pueblo County cannabis scholarship program continues to grow
Pueblo County has been levying an excise tax on cannabis sales since January 1, 2016.
The tax started at 2% and has risen annually by 1% until the tax becomes capped once it reaches 5%.
Per the 2015 initiative that created the fund, a minimum of 50% of the local cannabis excise tax goes towards the scholarship program.
In 2016, Pueblo County awarded 23 scholarships totaling $50,000.
Last year 210 students received a total of $420,000, so the program is increasing in size in both financial assistance awarded and the number of students receiving awards.
This is yet another example of how well legalization is working in Colorado
The cannabis scholarship fund in Pueblo County is one of many examples of how cannabis legalization is working in Colorado.
Cannabis opponents made the erroneous claim leading up to legalization in Colorado that for every tax dollar raised by legalization there would be 10 dollars in social costs.
Those cannabis opponents were clearly wrong. Cannabis legalization has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues and fees for the state of Colorado.
The legal cannabis industry in Colorado has created a tremendous number of jobs and helped boost local economies.
Even more important than all of that, legalization has also helped prevent countless lives from being ruined by the harmful public policy that is cannabis prohibition.
Legalization is clearly working in Colorado. Every state in the nation should be following suit!
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