Teen marijuana use continues to rise, according to the latest annual Monitoring the Future survey. Some, including the Associated Press, are noting that the popularity of pot on high school campuses correlates with the increasing legality of cannabis across America.

The survey found that nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) of U.S. high school seniors have toked in the last month. More than a third (36 percent) say they've smoked in the last year.

Daily smokers? In high school?

6.5 percent of seniors admitted to it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The numbers represent a slight increase compared to five years ago, when 5.1 percent of seniors admitted to daily use, according to the numbers.

One in 10 (11 percent) of eighth graders said they smoked in the last year.

Researchers seem most concerned about kids' growing perception of pot as harmless. The NIH:

… Teens' perception of marijuana's harmfulness is down, which can signal future increases in use. Only 41.7 percent of eighth graders see occasional use of marijuana as harmful; 66.9 percent see regular use as harmful. Both rates are at the lowest since the survey began tracking risk perception for this age group in 1991. As teens get older, their perception of risk diminishes. Only 20.6 percent of 12th graders see occasional use as harmful (the lowest since 1983), and 44.1 percent see regular use as harmful, the lowest since 1979.

Academics say that the earlier kids use pot, the more likely they are to become addicted and the more likely they could be prone to learning problems and brain development issues.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy:

Each new generation of young people deserves the chance to achieve its full potential, unencumbered by the obstacles placed in the way by drug use.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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