The last few years have seen a major change in drug laws in the United States. While the push for marijuana to be legalized for medicinal purchases has a fairly long history, it has just recently become legal for recreational use. Colorado was one of the first states to take this approach.

This is a big reversal from the so-called “War on Drugs” that began under President Nixon and gained steam under President Reagan. This was a movement that was intended to crush drug use by making more arrests and giving those who were convicted longer prison sentences. It became a cultural phenomenon, and it really shaped the way that many Americans view drug use even today.

That said, the “war” itself has been controversial. While the idea was that it was supposed to promote moral behavior and increase public safety, some have alleged that the true reason was that the authorities needed reasons to arrest those who opposed their political stances. Namely, they were focused on the hippies and African Americans. It has been claimed that marijuana and other drugs were just used as a way to make those arrests.

You also need to consider the financial side of drug arrests. Many drug convictions come with hefty fines and the war on drugs creates the need for larger police forces with bigger budgets. Does money also play a role?

Regardless, many drugs are still illegal, even as marijuana laws change. Keep in mind, too, that marijuana is still federally illegal. Those who get arrested need to know what legal options they have to fight the charges.