FOX 5 proves medical marijuana card ‘easy’ to get

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO – Medical marijuana has had its fair share of headlines this week, from the San Diego City Council considering re-legalizing dispensaries to Drug Enforcement Agents raiding them.

FOX-5 decided to investigate a different element of medicinal marijuana: How easy is it to get a card to legally smoke it?

Medical MarijuanaWill Wooton is a teen drug and alcohol counselor and founder of Pacific Treatment Services in Escondido.

“First it was almost unbelievable. It was just hard to imagine that you could easily obtain something that can be misused,” he said.  “Most of the kids think it’s a joke. In fact, they openly say it’s a get out of jail free card. That is one of the nicknames around high school.”

Wooton said he used to see one to two teenagers a month who used their medical marijuana card as a means to get high. Now he sees more than that every week.

Legally, you must be at least 18 years old to obtain a medical marijuana card, but FOX 5 wanted to find out what else was required, so we decided to follow Wooton’s fellow counselor, Grant Glidewell, as he tried to get a card.

The first clinic we stopped at was in the North County. FOX 5 chose not to identify the medicinal marijuana clinics because several people we talked to admitted, easy access to cards is a wide-spread problem.

“The most common thing I hear from kids is that they go in and say they’re anxious and can’t sleep. I’m going to give that a shot and I’m pretty confident that will work,” said Glidewell.

It did work. Less than an hour later, Glidewell walked out of the first clinic with a card to legally smoke pot.

“When I saw the doctor, he smiled and had looked over my questionnaire briefly. He said ‘you have two of three main symptoms we treat here.’” Glidewell said.  “He then said that I was going to love marijuana, that he and his wife smoked it and that I was going to have the best sleep of my life.”

Glidewell used his real name and driver’s license, but lied about his trouble sleeping. He also did not have corroborating evidence about his so-called condition.

“[The doctor] believed me and had absolutely no clinical insight about my history at all and no collateral information, nothing,” Glidewell said.

When asked if anything surprised him about the visit, Glidewell responded, “Nothing surprising at all. The only thing surprising is that I almost expected it to be a little more difficult, but it wasn’t.”

Glidewell’s second appointment was in Vista and it took 10 minutes. Once again, he walked out with a medical marijuana card. He said there wasn’t even a doctor on site. The doctor talked to him via Skype.

“This situation is exactly what I would expect. It’s the sum of all fears. There’s no verification, not even a doctor on site, the people running it are high and the whole place smells like weed. It’s really intensely bad. There’s no way to try and paint this as legitimate,” he said.

There are clinics in San Diego County that are stricter with their rules involving medicinal marijuana cards.

David Blair owns A Green Alternative in Kearny Mesa and requires anyone who wants a medical marijuana card to have a note from their doctor. He also refuses to give out cards to high school students, even if they’re 18 years old, without a parent being with them.

“Unfortunately, we are an anomaly. This is medical marijuana and we take our responsibilities quite sincerely,” said Blair.

When FOX 5 told Blair about our experience with Glidewell obtaining a card, Blair admitted it was disappointing.

“I think that’s troublesome. It hurts our cause and the people we are truly trying to help.”

A Green Alternative primarily treats elderly people and Blair admitted, he’s probably not as crowded as some of the other clinics, but “we can sleep at night.”

California law does not require medicinal marijuana clinics to require a doctor’s note before handing out cards, but it does require there to be a medical reason. That’s the loophole.

“I think that’s a problem, because doctors don’t know whether the information they’re being told is accurate,” said Blair.

When the information is not accurate, as Wooton and Glidewell admit is often the case with the teenagers they treat, the consequences can be devastating.

“Just because something is wrong, it should be wrong across the board. Especially when it comes to drugs. Kids should not have access to medical marijuana,” said Wooton.

Pacific Treatment Services offers weekly groups for parents and teenagers to deal with addiction. The sessions are free.


  • Sarah

    Would you rather people have to get their marijuana from shady contacts and dark alleys? People getting the cards are going to smoke anyway, why not allow them to get their marijuana from a clean, legal dispensary?

    • digitaldave

      Agrees totally…FOX NEWS and others who are completely in the dark about POT, its use and benefits, just don't get it. It is a harmless natural plant that will be made completely legal is a few short years. Controlled, taxed and sold much like alcohol, pot and its byproducts (oil and fiber) will save many community, state and federal economies.

  • DavePretty

    “Just because something is wrong, it should be wrong across the board. Especially when it comes to drugs. Kids should not have access to medical marijuana,” said Wooton.

    True. And all clinics here in San Diego only prescribe marijuana for medicinal use for patients that are over 18 years old. Not kids.

    So tell me why Wooton is involved again? Oh that's right he runs Pacific Treatment Services which specializes in treating teens with substance abuse problems. And if you don't get paranoid about marijuana, he won't have any clientele.

    Oh, don't forget his specialized post treatment Continuing Care Program that you're encouraged to take (i.e. pay for) once you finish your initial treatment six to twelve month treatment. And don't forget to pick up his new book, "Bring Your Teen Back From the Brink"

  • 2surf

    I laughed out loud at that video. When I went in to get my card there was me with the chronic nerve pain and bone on bone arthritic knee and a grizzled Vietnam vet walking on a cane. The other 10 or so patients were kids each with some form of artificial enhancement be it tattoos, rings, piercings, and pink hair. The waiting room had the feel of a counselors office at the local high school. The little girl with the ring in her nose siting next to me kept complaining out loud that it was taking too Fuking long. I know that almost each kid with a card soon becomes the supplier for a whole network of adults and underage children. Do you doubt me? Really now….there needs to be a real law with an enforceable minimum age combined with penalties and such to protect this generation of kids from making themselves mentally ill. Sorry kids we boomers won't be around to take care of you when you when life becomes just to freakin complicated..

    • Duncan20903

      It's just hard to believe that you think that those people wouldn't be able to find pot without a doctor's rec in Southern California. It's just laughably absurd.

      You do know that the only way to modify a citizen generated ballot initiative created law in the State of California is with another citizen generated ballot initiative, right?

      The reality is that without the CUA all the youngsters would have no trouble finding head stash but many of the patients "with the chronic nerve pain and bone on bone arthritic knee" who are a "grizzled Vietnam vet walking on a cane" would be SOL.

      The prohibitionists could have written reasonable rules for medicinal cannabis but decided that they preferred to try to suppress it's medical utility.

  • weedbay

    Marijuana has killed less people than aspirin and even water. How hard should it be to get? If you are old enough to fight our bullshit wars then your old enough for medical marijuana.

    2surf – the business plan of purchasing marijuana at a retail price for resale sounds flawed, especially considering the premise of the article, that a pot card is too easy to get.

    • 2surf

      Retail price? Business Plan? Wow I doubt if any of these kids care if it makes them any money. Don't you remember… the kid with the dope has a circle of friends because he has the dope.

  • Noton Anymeds

    OK Let's see what we have learned from this lesson – If You LIE to your Dr. you'll not receive the treatment you would have if you were honest.

    Hay Lying reporter go see your own Dr. and tell them the same BS story and walk out the door with a prescription for Extremely Addictive Sleeping Pills ! You and most MedM Haters probably all ready have some, as well as some pills to help you shake off the sleeping pills

    If you are posting about being dishonest with a Dr trying to help you, Why should we not think you are being honest with us

    How about a story on the depths media go to – to make up a story

    Didn't we "The People of the State of California" put all this behind us with a VOTE oh so many years ago ??

    • Noton Anymeds


      If you are posting about being dishonest with a Dr trying to help you, Why should we not think you are being dishonest with us now

  • Dave K

    Why is this news? Who is surprised that being dishonest to a medical provider would result in the wrong diagnosis? The only thing demonstrated here is that people like Will Wooten lack the sound moral character that we would expect from someone who treats others for serious addictions and that folks should avoid Pacific Treatment Services in Escondito. Being dishonest to Pacific Treatment Services would likely get you into treatment there even if you had never taken a drug… Where's the story?

  • Terry Colorado

    It should be easy to get a medical marijuana card; marijuana is the safest medicine on the earth; you don't restrict aspirin use; why would you restrict a plant less harmful then aspirin. Get a clue Fox5; patients don't deserve the bad propaganda. FOX5 … creating a story when the truth is too dull.

  • joecsplanter

    Liars receive bad karma. If you lie in order to set up a basis with which to slander someone/something else,…you have created the worst kind of karma for yourself. I pity those involved in the making of that liars' slander.

  • ethernot

    Right, and getting "legal" prescription drugs, like Vicotin or Oxycontin, for "teenagers" or anybody else, is just so totally impossible … ! :-P


  • eli

    wait wait wait, did she just call pot users addicts? more like enthusiasts. pot is not addictive in any way, those who enjoy this social activity, like those who enjoy going to the beach for the day, are doing it because they enjoy it, not because they feel like they need to do it to keep going.

  • Joe

    who the hell cares. THIS IS OUR LOOP HOLE TO SMOKE DUH!!! lets just let kids drink alcohol right, then we can increase there chances of dying. when are people going to get that weed is perfectly safe. Yes we have people who abuse it just like anything else,but damn; just because its the law doesnt make it right! People want to smoke let them. its just crazy that people are more into alcohol- something that can kill you in more ways than one, then they are of maryjane. fuckin stupid ass muthafuckers. I dont even drink, im so against that crap, the long term affects it has on people is just ridiculous. You can have your drink but i cant have my smoke? yeah right, fuck out here.

  • Anonymous

    This is stupid marijuana is the safest/healing medicine on this Earth. It helped with my lymphoma cancer pain along with brain tumor, it even shrinked my tumor. Also helped with my anxiety & depression. I am now cancer free after smoking for only 6 months. It also isn’t addicting I can go months without smoking I even went a year and a half but when I did my cancer came back and I got sick again. But I went back on it & like I said I’m cancer free now. I’m just 17 btw & my mom was the one who gave me consent for the medical card and it was the best decision ever compared to chemo & the harmful painful side effects it came with. I’m thankful for something like marijuana being on this earth it saved my life.

  • irateiconoclast



  • Scott

    Smoking weed for 33yrs and people that don’t smoke are telling me how bad it is…laughable, but what’s new.

    It’s the pharmaceutical corporations lobbying with an endless supply of funds to keep maryjane from becoming legal. The legalization of pot would devastate there bottom line!

    • Scott

      So I think I’ll smoke a few bong loads now to lower my blood pressure after reading this ignoramuses report.
      Lie to the doctor and call it a story.
      So let me try and understand the mentality….I tried and it hurt my head. I think I’ll smoke another one! Now that’s better!
      Will Wooten I bet your wife lies to you five times a year ….didn’t you notice that after your 3 minute sexual encounter that she goes into the bathroom for twenty minutes and moans at the end. That isn’t constipation….she’s rubbing one out.

  • scroo

    Smoking marijuana as a teenager never caused me any harm
    Being illegally searched by bonehead police and treated like a baby rapist because I had a joint in my pocket and having to deal with the legal system and smug mouthed morons who were 'doing this for my own good' nearly ruined my life

  • Jared Callway

    Like that’s gonna stop people from toking up, this is America all I have to do is grow it myself with my right to pursue happiness. People could care less about med. cards – I don’t even have one and I smoke the bombest kushes and have ounces just like everyone else

  • Pingback: Revista Este País
  • Pingback: Anonymous
  • Jah Rastafari

    Mind your own business Fox (Entertainment) News. I thought your boss (Rodger Ailes) was all for personal freedoms. I've been smoking weed for 45 years now and guess what, I'm still alive and not addicted to harder drugs. It's all a myth. How about a news report on the good things about marijuana, like helping kids with epilepsy and other ailments, and don't forget us chronic pain patients with steel rods, plates, and screws in our backs, legs, spines, and whatever other parts of our bodies that had to be surgically repaired and decided to forgo addicting pain drugs. Alcohol kills people, weed doesn't!!

  • Ask

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures

    on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if

    it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.