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More teens don't view pot as harmful

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

States like Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana this fall, and other states could follow.

Now some researchers think the legal moves add to continued high marijuana use in teens.

A new study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows not as many teens see the danger in smoking marijuana as in the past, the lowest number in 20 years.

The study surveyed more than 45,000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. The results show 80 percent of the high school seniors don't consider occasional marijuana use harmful.

More than 6 percent of the seniors smoke daily, 23 percent smoke regularly, and one in five said they smoked pot in the month before taking the survey.

About 3.5 percent of 10th graders said they smoke daily, 17 percent in the month prior to the survey, and 28 percent in the past year.

And in 8th grade, the survey said 1.1. percent of students smoke daily, 6.5 percent in the past month, and 11 percent in the past year.

A little more than 40 percent of 8th grade students see occasional marijuana use as harmful, and 66.9 percent see regular use as harmful. These numbers are the lowest since the category began in 1991.

Results showed about 20.6 percent of seniors in high school see occasional use as harmful, and 44.1 percent view regular use as harmful.

Some people said they don't know if legalizing pot would change the views of teens.

"There's a lot of things that are legal that's not safe, it's not healthy, and it's not productive to go that direction, but the marijuana is out there now, just because it's legal it's not going to keep it, or put more on the street than what they can get to now illegally," said Carrell Odom.

"I don't think it's right to be honest with you, to each it's own, but for me and my family, no," said Ella Long.

"Parents should teach them right from wrong, once a child becomes an adult, then they can do what they want, but until they become an adult, their parents are responsible for them," said Mike Schlimme. "I honestly think it's the parents that are shirking their responsibility, they are not instructing their children they're leaving it up to public schools, public school cannot do everything."

"I've always taught my kids that smoking is bad for you, and I try to keep them away from it, as far as I know, none of them have tried smoking, smoking pot, smoking cigarettes, whatever so far," said Long.

The survey shows the use of other illegal drugs is on a steady decline. The number of teens who used them in the year prior to the survey is at a record low.

The results also reported alcohol and cigarette use at lowest rates since the survey began.

And for the first time in the survey's history, bath salts were included in the questioning. Just over 1 percent of high school seniors had used the drug.

You can view the survey here.

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