Relief could be on the way for ailing Pennsylvanians who might benefit from medical marijuana.

Doctors prescribe medicines derived from the cannabis plant to treat conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis and glaucoma to AIDS and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And some new, marijuana-based anti-seizure medicines are providing the only relief to people who have exhausted all other treatments.

These doctors practice in the 20 states where compassionate lawmakers understood the difference between recreational use of pot and legitimate, medical use of cannabis.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of those states — despite the fact that a record 87 percent of our residents supported medical marijuana in a Franklin & Marshall College poll earlier this month.

Some state lawmakers — including state Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, and State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, who hosted a forum on medical cannabis in Fairview Township last week — are trying to change that.

But so far they've been outnumbered by opponents in the Legislature, some who claim to support medical use but say Congress should first remove marijuana from the federal list of prohibited, schedule 1 drugs.

That argument might get put to the test if U.S. Rep. Scott Perry has his way.

The York County Republican Monday announced the introduction of his Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act, which would remove cannabidiol oil and therapeutic hemp from the federal definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act.


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He was careful to say this bill doesn't legalize recreational pot use — which he opposes — and it doesn't even legalize all forms of marijuana for medical use.

Perhaps the legislation actually is too limiting; that's for doctors and researchers to say.

But it is a start, a move, as Perry says, to "get past the stigma" of what medical marijuana isn't.

It isn't a mood-altering "high" — but it can be a life-changing treatment.