Marijuana pays for Colorado Latinos' education (but it's not what you think)
In Pueblo County, this legally sold drug has a very positive impact for hundreds of students.
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More than 700 young Latinos in southern Colorado will be able to attend university thanks to the $2.3 million in taxes levied on the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use in Pueblo County, local authorities announced.
A business long pursued before its legalization in Pueblo, where 42% of its neighbors are Latino, and in other counties in the state, it has generated the most money to date, and it's being well spent.
Pueblo's Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF) will administer the scholarships, which will be awarded to hundreds of future Hispanic college students worth about $2,000, in addition to providing nearly $700,000 more in project funds.
"We are excited to be, so to speak, at the forefront of using those dollars to award scholarships. And every year we're increasing that amount," PHEF director Janelle Quick told EFE.
The sale of marijuana in Colorado was legalized in 2014, and two years later the program began with the award of $250 to 40 Pueblo students who had already graduated.
Getting one of these scholarships, according to Quirk, is not easy, since students must earn it by maintaining high academic performance each year, in addition to performing community service.
Although initially only 25% of Latinos attending Pueblo Community College and Colorado State University received PHEF funding, the scholarships were extended nationwide.
"This has had a tremendous impact on local students receiving these scholarships," said Commissioner Garrison Ortiz, who promised to "increase funding for these scholarships every year.
The funds for the project came from a popular vote held in this county of 170,000 people in November 2015, where half of the marijuana sales tax was authorized for education and half for infrastructure improvements.
Colorado is one of eight US states where the marketing of cannabis is legal, including Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.