SO YOUR ROOMMATE has this card, and he gets to grow weed and smoke weed and travel with weed, and he can go to these shops that sell weed and buy even more weed. And all he had to do was tell his doctor: "I, like, need weed and stuff." And the card is free, dude!
Some history: In November 1998, Oregon voters passed Measure 67, establishing the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). The program, which is entirely supported by user fees, began in May 1999, and had 600 registered patients at the end of its first year. By July 2014, it had 64,838 registered patients.
Every state with a medical marijuana program has different guidelines for what qualifies patients. In California, insomnia and anxiety are considered qualifying conditions. In Oregon, you must be seeking relief from one or more of the following: glaucoma, cancer, agitation related to Alzheimer's, cachexia, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, nausea, severe pain, seizures including epilepsy, and persistent muscle spasms including those caused by multiple sclerosis.
This probably doesn't mean your roommate has a wicked case of glaucoma. The most common ailment by far is severe pain—it's the condition cited by 62,095 of the 64,838 OMMP cardholders. It's not as simple as pretending to have a bad back, though. The OMMP states that an applicant "requires a physician-written statement of the patient's qualifying debilitating medical condition."
This is when many seek out one of the statewide clinics whose sole purpose is to examine and qualify individuals for their OMMP card. The clinic must have an Oregon board-certified doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) in house, and work with you to get any medical records relating to your ailment transferred from your regular doctor.
But if your regular doctor is the local ZoomCare, there may not be any records to transfer. In that case, you'll need to explain your health history relating to your condition, and bring along any supporting evidence (for instance, those suffering from serious pain might have receipts of massages or bodywork relating to that pain).
It's in the clinic's best interest to pre-screen you to determine if you qualify. This saves them the hassle of having to deal with your stupid ass explaining how watching Avatar causes you severe pain unless you are way baked, bro.
After weeding out the poseurs, the clinic's doctor will discuss your medical history relating to the condition, and ask if you have tried cannabis, if you are familiar with vaping, edibles, tinctures, and so on. Have you tried conventional medications as well? Were there any side effects?
No one is drawing blood or sticking fingers inside you, so it's relatively painless and quick, often completed in 90 minutes or less. Each clinic's cost varies, but $175 to $250 is average—plus there's the base $200 application fee to OMMP itself, although many people can qualify for income or disability discounts. More information can be found at the OMMP page at oregon.gov.
So no, getting your OMMP card is not as easy as running down to the quickie mart—and no, it's definitely not free—but if you qualify, it's totally doable.