PORTLAND, Ore. -- The new president of the State Sheriff's Association says Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program is out of control.
Tom Bergin said at the rate Oregon is going, he believes Oregon is three times sicker than California. Why? Well, more than 90 percent of cardholders say they're using pot to treat pain -- not glaucoma or cancer -- as the bill was initially marketed.
Even the biggest supporters of medical marijuana said the program operates in a gray area, with some pushing the envelope too far.
One of those people is Angela Fairless. She's a medical marijuana patient. She even showed her card. Fairless uses marijuana to treat her migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she understands the politics of pot, that it's a complicated matter. She even understands, to some extent, why law enforcement like Bergin is calling out the legality of some dispensary-type stores.
"I admire what they're doing," she said. "The intelligence and morality is greatly lacking ... strong moral obligation to talk about it."
Dispensaries were rejected last November by Oregon voters, but overall, the popularity of the state's medical marijuana program is skyrocketing. The program, which was once billed as something that would apply to 500 people, has ballooned to more than 50,000.
Last year, KATU Reporter Anna Canzano went undercover to see how easy it was to get a medical marijuana card. She hit up a clinic, paid $200 and explained the massage therapy she was receiving for back and neck pain wasn't working.
She walked out with a prescription for medical marijuana and even got a free sample from a grower who happened to be in the clinic at the time.
Madeline Martinez happened to become Oregon's 500th patient. She's now the executive director for one of the organizations trying to legalize marijuana.
But just like with prescription drugs, she said, abuse and profiteering exists. People are getting the cards just to smoke and sell the marijuana, which is why Martinez would be open to talking with law enforcement about better defining the rules.
"Darkening the gray areas, have a rational discussion," she said. "We can't even get in the door."
One of the key issues, according to both sides, are growers who grow much more pot than they're supposed to for their patients and then turning around and selling it on the black market.
Currently, growers are only allowed to have a maximum of 96 ounces total or less, but no one tracks how much marijuana they actually give to patients and what happens to the extra marijuana they grow.