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World's first cannabis-funded scholarship program accepting applications

February 13, 2017 Updated: February 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm
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Pueblo is the first community in the world to provide a cannabis-funded scholarship to every graduating high school senior. 

Applications are now being accepted for the first full-year of funding of the new program.

The Board of Pueblo County Commissioners on Monday approved a contract between Pueblo County and the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation to administer the scholarship. 

County commissioners expect a $1,000 scholarship to be available to every graduating high school senior who resides in Pueblo County and plans to attend either Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo in the fall.

Students must fill out the application form to be awarded the scholarship.

The fund is expected to contain nearly $475,000, which includes about $425,000 from cannabis excise tax revenue and another $49,664 from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

The state funds would not be available without a local match, which was made possible by the cannabis-funded scholarship program.

Students can apply at the same time for both funds on the same application form.

The online application is at www.phef.net. Applications are due April 30.

In past years, between 300 and 400 incoming college freshmen have graduated from local high schools and attended a Pueblo college. The remainder of the funds will be divvied up based on merit and need.

Pueblo County’s marijuana excise tax is assessed on all marijuana grown in Pueblo County. The tax is charged to the marijuana cultivator only once, when the marijuana is first sold or transferred to a retail store or manufacturer.

Pueblo County has been collecting excise tax, by voter approval, since January 1, 2016. The excise tax rate is 2 percent and will increase by 1 percent annually to 5 percent.

No less than half of the excise tax collected by the County is required to go into the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund. The remainder of the excise tax revenue must be used for a specific list of capital improvement projects.

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