Scientists want to study marijuana. Big Pot just wants to sell it.

Different strains of pot are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week, we’re talking about drug scheduling. Need a primer? Catch up here.

David T. Courtwright teaches history at the University of North Florida, where he is presidential professor. He is writing a history of pleasure, vice, and addiction with the help of a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Grant Award.

Since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana has been a Schedule I drug. Congress placed it in the most restrictive category of psychoactive substances, those with no currently accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse or dependence. The upshot was a renewed ban on marijuana, except for highly restricted

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