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Marijuana-funded scholarship sending kids to college

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 17:50:14-04

PUEBLO COUNTY, CO (KXRM/CNN) – Some Pueblo County students will head to college next fall, with help from taxes on marijuana.

County officials announced that their cannabis-funded college scholarship has tripled in funding since it began in 2015, making it possible for a record amount of Pueblo students to go to college.

"If you want a college education, you either have to spend all your savings or you have to die in debt to the institutions, and I think it should be a little easier to go to college," said Sal Pace, Pueblo County Commissioner.

Pace spearheaded the idea of the scholarship back in 2015. He said $750,000 was raised for the fund in 2017.

The majority of the scholarship is funded by a 3-percent excise tax levied by the county on the wholesale transfer of marijuana to distributors. The tax is expected to increase by 1 percent each year, capping off at 5 percent.

"If we want to change the course of Pueblo and we want to make Pueblo as economically thriving as the metropolis of Colorado Springs, then we have to make sure everyone has the opportunity to a college education," Pace said.

The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation helps administer the scholarship. In years past, hundreds of students have received $2,000 each.

"It's important to not only help the students, but also the families that are trying to pay to give the next generation opportunity for success," Pace said.

Copyright 2018 KXRM via CNN. All rights reserved.