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Marijuana Is Helping Colorado’s Youth Go to College

Yvvonne Burrell and Sir Martin look at scholarship information in the Future Center during a school day at Manual High School on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. The Future Center provides the students a place to receive information about financial aid, scholarshipYvvonne Burrell and Sir Martin look at scholarship information in the Future Center during a school day at Manual High School on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. The Future Center provides the students a place to receive information about financial aid, scholarship
Colorado students look at scholarship information online.Photo by AAron Ontiveroz—Denver Post via Getty Images

Thanks to marijuana, some Colorado students will have an easier time paying for college.

The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, in Colorado’s Pueblo County, is distributing scholarships to 25 students this year, USA Today reports. The grants, which amount to $1,000 each, are being funded by cannabis taxes.

“Every year we get a nice pool of students,” Beverly Duran, executive director of the foundation, told USA Today. “But we can only award to a small percentage.” This year, however, the extra taxes have helped expand the scholarship program to “extraordinary lengths.” A search on SchoolDigger.com found 10 high schools listed under Pueblo County. The average percentage of economically disadvantaged students in each school is nearly 50%, and goes as high as 74%.

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Growers and buyers in Colorado paid over $135 million in marijuana-related taxes and fees last year. About $35 million is going towards improving schools. The remaining money is being used for various projects including counseling for drug addiction, enforcing underage consumption laws, improving infrastructure, and providing services for the homeless.

 

Huerfano County is expecting an extra $500,000 this year from cannabis taxes, and will use that money to raise municipal employees’ salaries by 8%—most of them haven’t seen a raise in over five years.

USA Today notes that it’s uncertain how long this good fortune can last. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and, if prosecutors so choose, the entire industry could be shut down instantaneously.