You getting high is putting a bunch of kids through college in Pueblo
A few years ago, economists estimated that there was well over $1.2 Trillion dollars worth of student loan debt floating around this country in some magical sky bank that holds imaginary value. That's roughly $3,428 worth of debt, just in student loans, for every man, woman and child in America. Likewise, the pit is growing at about $2,726 per second.
There are also over 7 million people already in default of paying anything back.
We've got some issues.
To counter its footprint in the suck, Pueblo, CO initiated a program in November of last year that would raise excise taxes on marijuana sales to help fund scholarships for students wishing to stay in the city to get schooled. Recently, those scholarships were dolled out to 25 students, who were awarded $2,000 each ($1,000 from the excise tax funds and a matched $1,000 from the Colorado Opportunity Grant) — a first of its kind program in the United States.
The excise tax, voted in by residents of Pueblo County, hopes to raise $3.5 million from programs like these by 2020.
The language in the ballot itself allows up to 400 applicants to receive the funds raised in any given year — based off of how much tax revenue is pulled in. Considering there are a little over 10,000 college students in the city, that's no small contribution to the ever-concerning need for higher education and the fight of how to pay for it. The struggle is so real it hurts.
It may be just a drop in the bucket compared to the trillion-dollar bog we've gotten our waders dirty with in this country, but if Pueblo can lay down a working foundation, it's likely other cities and states will take notice and implement their own programs in the future.
Be the change, and all of that ...
After all, if we placed an initiative on the ballot, say, this November to raise taxes to help students get through college, the resulting backlash is predictable: "Fuck no I'm not paying for any freeloaders." - "I worked my way through college, fuck those kids." - "You're fucking kidding me right?"
But tack an innocuous tax onto something people want and will buy anyway, well, that's politics ladies and gentlemen. People want to feel good about what they're doing but also reap benefits because of it. A marijuana tax isn't the end all to our problems, but it sure as hell is going to help while keeping naysayers at bay.
Just ask these 25 students who don't have to worry so much about books anymore or whether or not they're going to be screwed once they get that expensive diploma.
Smoke some'n, it's the benevolent thing to do.