Pueblo County, Colorado is awarding $2.3 million in scholarships to local students using cannabis-derived taxes, the Pueblo Chieftain reports. The total is the largest scholarship disbursement in county history and officials said that all 729 program applicants were likely to receive scholarship awards.
Janelle Quick, director of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, told the Chieftain that the scholarships range from $1,200 to $2,000 depending on the student’s grade point average, essay scores, community service, and their contribution through the federal student loan program commonly known as FAFSA. Students can use the scholarships for any accredited institute of higher education. The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation will receive $676,800 for scholarships that it will disburse instead of the county.
In 2015, Pueblo County voters passed an initiative that requires the first half of cannabis excise tax dollars to go toward scholarships, while the remaining can be used for capital infrastructure projects.
Dru Spinuzzi, vice-president of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, said that the first year of the program students only received $250 in scholarship funds from the program.
In April, Denver-based cannabis-tech company Veriheal said it would offer $10,000 in scholarships to students interested in the cannabis industry. The company said 10 students would receive $1,000 each.
Pueblo is one of two counties in the state that allocates cannabis excise taxes for local purposes. The scholarships will be used for the upcoming fall and spring semesters.