Marijuana is not nearly as harmful as other drugs such as heroin, or cocaine. Despite this, it is still classified as a schedule 1 drug. Furthermore, banning drugs isn't the way to stop drug use. Despite 40 years of "Drug education" and of the failed "War on Drugs", drug use hasn't gone down, at least not in the US. The war on drugs serves to simply incarcerate millions of citizens who have committed non-violent, drug offenses. If someone is addicted, jail, fines, or community service doesn't help them with that. In Switzerland for example, drug crime was quite high, as was drug use. However, in the 1990s, the government established rehab programs and supervised injection rooms, and drug use and drug deaths decreased heavily, as did drug-related crime. In Vancouver, there are legal drug-injection centers called "InSite". Here, users can bring drugs to inject legally, safely, and without risk of dirty needles transmitting HIV/AIDS. There are also medical staff on site to assist those who overdose. No one has died at those centers- ever. These two places show what we need to do in the US: legalize drug use and provide places to safely inject, and create rehab programs for those who need it. Marijuana is also one of the less dangerous drugs. Counting substance deaths, Alcohol kills 88,000 people/year on average. Smoking kills 480,000 (once again an average). Marijuana kills none. In addition, these "dangerous" drugs such as meth, cocaine, and heroin, can be made less "dangerous" by proper medical supervision, like places in Canada. Then why is Marijuana still illegal, at least federally? This goes back to Nixon's administration. Nixon started the "War on Drugs" to bully minorities and political opponents. Nixon's aide John Ehrlichman, in 1999 said that "“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
Yes, marijuana should be legalized nationwide. Legalizing marijuana, and regulating and taxing this substance like alcohol and tobacco are regulated and taxed, will ensure that money is not spent on jailing non-violent drug offenders. It will also make states able to gain more tax money for schools and infrastructure projects.
The legalization of marijuana has proved very successful in the states that have allowed it. They are generating tax revenue at unheard of rates. These tax dollars are helping to alleviate budget concerns for things such as education. In addition to the financial sucesses, having the marijuana trade legalized means that there are people regulating the processing of the drug, ensuring it is safe to consume. There are also less drug deals taking place out on the streets, which are often very dangerous.
Most people do not realize how harmful marijuana is. The government classified marijuana as a level one substance. That means that they can find no valid use for marijuana at all. There is nothing good about people spending money just to smoke it away. They should do better things with their money like buy fruits and vegetables.
No, marijuana should not be legalized nationwide simply based on the boom of legal sales in the U.S. Matters of health and safety should never be decided based on popularity or economics. Marijuana is a mind-altering substance and should be regulated in a manner similar to other prescription drugs that have health benefits in certain situations but that are not good for the general public.