If you have ever gone to college, or at least looked into attending college, you learn very fast that it's not cheap. If you come from a wealthy family and you don't have to worry about the price tag, congratulations! But for the average American like you and me, you do have to worry about the price of college. I know a lot of very, very smart and talented people that would have dominated in college, but they never got the chance because they couldn't afford it.
I couldn't afford college for the first six years after I graduated high school. I was on the honor roll all four years of high school, I was selected for National Honors Society, participated in a lot of extra curricular activities, etc., etc. But when it came time to go through the admissions process for colleges in my area, it always came down to a shortage of funds. Sure, I could have blindly signed up for every loan there is, but a college degree isn't worth nearly as much when it's coupled with a massive debt payment that will take decades to get rid of. So I rode it out and saved, and while I graduated college in 2009 (summa cum laude!) with some debt, it was reasonable to work with.
College shouldn't be like that for people. I know people older than me that are smarter than me and they have never been able to attend college because a job, family, life, and finances won't allow it. That's a problem that a county commissioner in Pueblo County, Colorado recognizes. Per The Cannabist:
A Pueblo County commissioner is proposing a ballot measure for a program to fund college scholarships through a marijuana excise tax.
Commissioner Sal Pace says he hopes the new measure will "give Pueblo kids a boost" and help fight college debt. The county commission is set to vote at their Monday meeting on whether or not the proposal will be placed on November election ballots.
"The excise tax would be levied when marijuana is transferred from cultivation to a store," Pace's office said in a news release Wednesday. "Pueblo County's perfect economic and weather conditions have created a boom of recreational cultivations without yet generating a tax on these grows."
Beginning in 2017, graduating seniors from all high schools in Pueblo who attend a public college or university in Pueblo County will be eligible for scholarships from the proposed program, the release said.
How do TWB readers feel? The tax is technically levied at the wholesale level, so in theory it wouldn't be paid by consumers. But, I have to assume the economic butterfly effect will eventually happen and that 5% will be passed along to consumers in some fashion in the form of higher prices for the stuff that was taxed at the wholesale level prior to ending up in jars at retail outlets.
Would you pay more for marijuana if you knew it was going to fund a college scholarship program in your area? If so, what is a fair amount? 1%, 5%, 10%? I have to assume there are people out there that feel that marijuana is taxed enough, and that any new tax for any reason should be avoided. If that's you, please leave your comments as well. I personally would pay a little more for marijuana that supports social causes, assuming the scholarship candidate selection criteria is solid. I look forward to reading your comments. The Pueblo County tax will be discussed at tomorrow's meeting.