'Alcohol someone would have to go buy for me. Marijuana is so available'

'Alcohol someone would have to go buy for me. Marijuana is so available' »Play Video

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Changing attitudes about marijuana here in Washington could have a trickle down effect to kids. Legalizing pot might make them think it's acceptable, but it's still illegal for those under 21. Some high school counselors are noticing the change in attitude. Action News spoke with an intervention specialist at school about how to keep kids away from it.

As an intervention specialist at West Valley schools, John Hutton has seen drug trends come and go.

"Definitely marijuana is the most used. Like one kid said to me last week - alcohol someone would have to go buy for me. Marijuana is so available," he said.

More alarming than the prevalence, he says, is the perception of pot. A national study shows that only about 20-percent of 12th graders see occasional use as harmful. That's the lowest number since 1983.

Hutton says the perception of safety is an indicator that the number of kids smoking pot will increase. He says the new law making pot legal for adults in Washington doesn't help either.

"Do you think students are saying, 'if it's legal, it must not be that bad?'" KIMA asked.

"I think that's a big part of it," Hutton said.

Students agree.

"Gives me the perception it's more safe I guess. That it is not as scary as everyone said it was," said Jerry Potts, a West Valley High School senior.

Hutton says talking to your kids about the risks is key to keep your child from becoming a statistic.

Drug suspensions in the Yakima Valley are down overall. They dipped slightly for the Yakima and West Valley school districts..

East Valley and Zillah saw them almost disappear.

However, drug suspensions nearly doubled in Toppenish and Wapato.