Disabled Utah Mom Nearly Jailed for Child Endangerment Over Medical Marijuana Use

And now she's a proponent of a new bill to allow whole plant medical marijuana in the Beehive State.

Photo Credit: Matthew Benoit/Shutterstock

A 27-year-old mother of two in Ogden County, Utah narrowly avoided jail time over her use of marijuana to alleviate the pain caused by her rare disease, KSTU-TV reported.

Enedina Stanger appeared at the local sheriff’s complex on Monday for processing after pleading guilty earlier this month to a drug possession charge — a reduction from her original charge of felony child endangerment. She was sentenced instead to six months probation and mandatory parenting classes.

Stanger, along with her husband Michael and their children, subsequently moved to Colorado, where use of the drug is legal. She suffers from a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which generates spasms in her joints, and uses a wheelchair.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that Stanger was charged in October after a witness called police, saying they saw her smoking marijuana inside her parked car while one of her daughters was inside.

“On the date in question, my daughter was with me because my collarbones had separated and she didn’t want her mom to hurt by herself,” she said at the time of her sentencing. “Cannabis is the only thing that the medical community has found that helps me. Because of this, I’ve been forced to leave my state … and most likely [will] die in a place that is not home because the laws have been changed and made like this.”

Weber County Deputy Attorney Ben Willoughby told the Ogden Standard Examiner that Stanger’s sentencing was reduced both because of the impact of her condition and her move to Colorado, but added that “the driving factor of the case was making sure the children are not exposed to the drug.”

As a result of her brush with the law, Stanger and her husband have come out in support of a bill proposed by state Sen. Mark Madsen (R) that would allow medicinal use of whole-plant marijuana. According to the Standard Examiner, state lawmakers are set to discuss two medical marijuana bills during its 2016 session, but both have been criticized by legalization advocates.

Madsen’s bill has also been criticized by state Rep. Brad Daw.

“To just sit there and say, ‘Because of this one case here with this rare condition, we throw open the barn doors?'” he told KSTU. “I’m not ready to go there.”


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Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. His work has appeared on GlobalComment.com, the Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt.