Analyst says calls for legalizing marijuana are part of societal trend

Analyst Vanessa Williamson said in an episode of "What America's Thinking" that aired Tuesday that increased calls for legalization of marijuana are part of a long-term societal trend. 

"I think this is part of a longer trend of sort of moving away from the criminalization of so many things in society," Williamson, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Monday. 

"People have really seen the mass incarceration happening, and also frankly, just the widespread use of marijuana in modern American society. It doesn't make sense to criminalize something that so many people are doing," she continued. "So I think [the decriminalization movement is] really positive from that perspective."  

A new Hill-HarrisX survey released on Tuesday found that 84 percent of respondents said they support legalizing marijuana. 

Cannabis is legal for recreational use in 10 states, while it is legal for medical purposes in 23 states. The substance is completely illegal in 17 states. 

Marijuana is considered a controlled substance subject to licensing under U.S. law. 

— Julia Manchester