Craigslist pot blurs legality of medical marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The line between legal medical marijuana providers and illegal operations has been blurry every since the passing of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act of 1998, and online advertising of the drug is adding to the problem.

"You know, it doesn't fight pain like an opiate does, but it makes you think about other more pleasant things," said Jim Greig, a medical marijuana patient who has lived with a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis for more than 20 years.

"I have designated a grower I know to grow my medicine and provide it to me at production cost," said Greig at his home in Springfield on Monday.

But he added that not every Oregon medical marijuana card holder has access to a grower they trust.

"There's not enough growers to take care of all the patients in the states now," said Greig. "A lot of patients are having to resort to other methods."

One of those methods is the Internet. With a quick search on Craigslist, dozens of advertisements for Oregon medical marijuana providers pop up.

Greig said while the advertisements may look legitimate, he would not recommend finding a supplier online.

"There's a wide range of potencies of marijuana," said Greig. "Marijuana growers can use pesticides, themical adulterants and things of that nature."

At the Springfield Justice Center, Sergeant John Umenhofer said online advertisements for medical marijuana make his job more difficult.

"What is legal? What is illegal? What are the parameters there? And that's where you get into a lot of grey areas," said Sgt. Umenhofer at the station on Monday.

Umenhofer added that he worries medical marijuana will get into the wrong hands with the Internet's easy access.

Greig said he understands the dilemma facing law enforcement.

"Let's get this thing handled," said Greig. "Let's get some safe regulations, and allow the police to focus on major crimes like theft, burglaries and things of that nature."

According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are around 55,000 medical marijuana card holders in the state.

In November, The Oregon Cannibus Tax Act is on the ballot. Voters will get to decide if they want to legalize marijuana for personal use as well as create an agency to tax the sale of the drug.