PUEBLO, Colo. - Taxpayers tend to question where marijuana money goes when it comes to students’ education, but in Pueblo, more than 550 students received college scholarships all funded through cannabis tax.
It’s the third year Pueblo County used cannabis taxes to fund the scholarships.
“I don’t have money for college so this is very exciting that I got these $2,000 to help me with my career in radiology,” said Larissa Apodaca.
Apodaca is one of 563 students who are a bit less stressed out about college tuition.
“I’m very happy I got this scholarship,” Larissa said.
The Pueblo County Commissioners and Pueblo Hispanic Education Fund awarded $624,000 in scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year.
This year’s number of scholarship recipients grew by more than 100 percent.
Last year, 210 students received a total of $420,000 in scholarships.
Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said the 2018-2019 funding nearly doubled from last year, paving the way for a brighter future.
“The revenue is creating a lasting legacy of multiple generations of educational opportunities, benefits of less college debt, and better income over a lifetime,” Sal Pace.
The scholarship awards ranged from $500 to $5,000. The amounts were based on need and merit.
“It’s a struggle to go to college. This scholarship made me grateful and will take off some of the burden, and it’ll make it easier to focus,” said DeAjainea Long.
Although legal marijuana money for education still has its critics, parents will continue to accept all the help they can get.
“It’s been put to a lot of good use,” Margie Pierce, Larissa’s grandmother.
“I use it as a positive method so there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Rodney McCree, DeAjainea’s grandfather.
Students awarded the Pueblo County Scholarship went attended schools in Pueblo and will be attending CSU-Pueblo or Pueblo Community College.