With medical marijuana approved in more states each year and recreational use legalized in Colorado and Washington, experts are concerned that more teens may use the drug because they believe it's safe.
A Feb. 25 study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy found that about 10 percent of high school students who would otherwise be at a low risk for picking up a pot-smoking habit -- which includes those who don't smoke cigarettes, students with strong religious beliefs and those with non-marijuana smoking friends -- say they would use marijuana if it was legal.
For high school seniors alone, the shift would make up a 5.6 percent absolute increase in lifetime pot use prevalence. About 45.6 percent of high school seniors admitted to smoking pot in the study, meaning that legalization would increase that number to 51.2 percent.
The data was pulled from the Monitoring the Future survey, which was a nationally-representative survey of students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grade. The students were polled from 2007 to 2011, before recreational marijuana use was legalized in Colorado and Washington following the November 2012 elections.
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