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Group: Teens picking real marijuana over synthetic

PHOENIX -- Teenagers are smoking less synthetic marijuana and may be smoking more real pot, a drug prevention group said.

The National Institutes of Health surveyed thousands of students nationwide and found about 8 percent of high school seniors used some type of synthetic marijuana this year, a drop from the 11 percent in 2012.

"What you have here is a huge shift in attitude because the kids see the dangers of using 'K2' or 'Spice,'" said Shelly Mowery with Prevention Works Arizona.

Mowery said what teenagers don't see is the danger of marijuana. She laid the blame for that on Arizona's approval of medical marijuana and the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

"This is sending the message to kids that marijuana is socially acceptable and it must not be risky not that it has been legalized in two states."

The NIH study backs up Mowery. It also found that teenage perceptions of the dangers of marijuana use continued to decline. In 1993, more than 60 percent of high school seniors considered marijuana dangerous, while this year less than 40 percent thought that.

Mowery said more than 30 percent of Arizona's teens have smoked pot while only 10 percent have tried synthetic marijuana.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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