OGDEN — A woman suffering from a debilitating and potentially fatal genetic disease says she will continue to fight so that her daughters do not have to choose between suffering or being labeled as criminals. 

Former South Weber resident Enedina Stanger returned to Utah after moving to Colorado to be booked into the Weber County Jail Monday, Dec. 28, as part of her sentencing process.

On Dec. 10, Stanger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance in a restricted zone. The charge was reduced from a 3rd-degree felony of child endangerment as part of the resolution. Although Stanger received no jail time with her sentence, she was required to appear in order to be processed for booking information, usually consisting of things like fingerprinting and mugshots.

Friends and family of Stanger, along with advocates for legalizing medicinal marijuana in Utah, came to the Weber County Jail to show support for her.

Stanger is diagnosed with rare form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic disease that affects the connective tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues. Defects in connective tissues cause the signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which vary from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications. It has also bound her to a wheelchair.

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The mother of two said she has previously tried opioid pills, but that they made her feel absent and did little to affect the pain. She tried medical marijuana which alleviated her symptoms and allowed her to be present for her daughters.

“There should be no question that medically it should be legal all over the world,” Stanger said.

Part of her motivation to advocate for legal medical marijuana is to make sure her daughters do not have to experience what she has. Both girls, one 3 years old and the other 4 years old, were diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and have already started showing symptoms.

“If I have to go to prison to make sure that my daughters have a new form of medicine and a way that they can survive and not be hurt, and not have medicine that ends up ruining their lives later on, I will do anything I can to do that,” Stanger said.

Police say on Oct. 1, a witness saw Stanger smoking marijuana in her parked vehicle with one of her daughters inside, according to a probable cause affidavit. A South Ogden Police officer arrived and issued Stanger a citation, opting not to arrest her due to her condition.

Stanger denies ever smoking in front of her daughters and claims the officer changed the witness’ statement.

Judge Joseph Bean suspended the jail sentence, community service, $1,000 fine and order for substance treatment that the charge would normally carry. The only real stipulation was that Stanger is required to complete a parenting course.

Stanger’s case was unique and one of the first his office has encountered, according to Weber County Deputy Attorney Ben Willoughby. Her sentence was reduced for multiple reasons — mainly, her condition would make completing the terms impossible and she was planning to move to Colorado shortly after the case concluded.

“The driving factor of the case was making sure the children are not exposed to the drug,” Willoughby said. “There has to be some penalty, and you can’t design anything less severe than this.”

Both the prosecutor and judge expressed their remorse for Stanger’s situation, but that violations of the law must be enforced and can only be changed by the state legislature.

Shortly after the sentencing, Stanger’s family moved to Frutia, Colorado where both recreational and medical marijuana is legal. The move uprooted the family’s lives, forcing her husband to resign his job and making their financial situation uncertain.

Michael Stanger said living in Utah made them fearful of losing their children and that even in Colorado they still worry Child Protective Services can come at anytime to take them away.

Stanger says she accepts the punishment, but that she will continue advocating for legal medical marijuana in Utah so she and her family can come home.

Come January 25, when the Utah State Legislative Session begins, Stanger will return with her family to lobby for the legalization of medical marijuana. Stanger said she supports Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) and his bill, which would legalize whole plant marijuana for patients.

“We really hope this never has to happen again,” Stanger said. “We are patients, not criminals.”

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Andreas.

(21) comments

anonymous

After four major gov sponsored and insurance co sponsored studies, all agree that cannabis makes drivers more cautious. Colorado Highway Patrol reported a 50% drop in traffic fatalities since legalization and a 5% drop in alcohol use.No study has ever linked cannabis use by any age group, especially children to IQ or learning ability loss. Rutgers and Pittsburgh U. study tracked 7th graders for 22 yrs and found no loss of mental or physical ability even among heavy daily users.This was published in Journal of the AMA about 3 months ago. The famous 25 yr Jamaican Study found that children given cannabis from birth (tea & food) actually did better in school than others. Think, Carl Sagan, Margaret Mead, Steve Jobs and few million other lifelong cannabis users. Cannabis is the only substance know that builds and even restores healthy brain tissue. Not to mention has proven to delay the onset of Alzheimers.

anonymous

words would do ...

anonymous

Hello Utah there is a knock at the door. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pini...It's for you.

anonymous

i guess i should have used a crayon for you.

anonymous

"suggesting to just give her a court date,"but you didn't say that ... you complained about tax dollars paying yada yada yada

anonymous

good

anonymous

how about you go stand around with signs and chant. i'm suggesting to just give her a court date, booking isn't necessary in her condition.

roynative

Do something to help. Write a letter, send an email, or make a call. Be registered to vote. http://www.house.gov/represent...

anonymous

The CDC currently has new guidelines under review which will make it nearly impossible for those with chronic pain to receive opioid medications, yet they are prosecuting people for trying other options. Please reach out and let your lawmakers know that those with chronic pain deserve to live in dignity.

anonymous

You are wasting your time arguing with this troll. It never sites sources or backs up claims. It just throws out stupid statements it knows will get people all worked up and then sits back and gets off on it.

anonymous

She was never in jail. She went thru the booking process, which includes fingerprinting. It's done at the jail, but doesn't mean she was put in a cell.

granter

Pritiblond's problem isn't an ADDICTION . . . it's a DISEASE -- terminal Tourette's Ejaculatosis. -- always fatal -- the death throes are disgusting and NOT something pleasant to be around.

anonymous

FFWhile I generally agree with these numbers and the conclusion that pot is way down the list of dangerous things, I do think there is a high probability that pot contributes to a lot of accidental deaths, things like car crashes, falls and stuff like that. It of course also pretty much dumbs down it's users, and when used a lot by young kids can lead to life long stupidity and disfunction. I think it probably should be legal, especially considering that alcohol is, but there should be very stiff penalties for giving it to young kids.

anonymous

one more thing ... if you despair of having to pay anything for anyone in jail (like their meals, blankets, underwear, and medical care) -- then you better hustle your butt over to the voting booths, and phones and make a difference so those that are using marijuana because it works!, when all other medical avenues have been exhausted, make a difference so they won't have to ever face having to go to jail.BB

anonymous

not nonsense.no one dies from marijuana.Big Pharma kills by the hundreds of thousands every day.not nonsense.bb

anonymous

and what, pray tell, is a Pretty Blond addicted to? hmmm? sugar? reality TV? fast food? shoes? makeup? keeping up with the kardashians? where;s your la-la land?when a person can function normally after use of an herb, you should applaud the miracle for what it is and not make judgements of which you know nothing ..pretty blond, indeed.BB

anonymous

What a fantasy. It would have taken at least a couple of joints to make up this nonsense.

anonymous

All the pot heads in Utah look anxiously on for a change in state law that would justify their addiction and facilitate their head long decent into la la land.

anonymous

two things. why would the officer change the witness statement and then only issue a citation? there's no money in it. didn't happen.let's get her bailed out before "we", weber county citizens, have to pay her medical bills.otherwise, bad situation all around.

anonymous

Some of our politicians and lawmakers would rather destroy the lives of citizens and children than stand up to their corporate masters at big booze and big pharma and legalize cannabis. With the data below common knowledge what other conclusion can you come to?All the data needed for an informed decision on cannabis legalization has already been collected and can be found at the CDC web site.Figures directly from the CDC dot gov web site Numbers of deaths per year in the USA* Prescription Drugs: 237,485 + 5000 traffic fatalities * Tobacco: 390,323* Alcohol: 88,013 + 16,000 traffic fatalities * Cocaine: 4,906* Heroin: 7,200* Aspirin: 466* Acetaminophen (Tylenol): 179* Marijuana: 0, none, not a single fatal overdose in all medical history and almost no traffic problems.So, which is safer????Legalize, regulate, TAX!

larry1clark

Probably time for everyone interested in this issue to contact their elected representatives and assure that they are represented. This has been kicked around at the State level for several years and nothing has yet to be done or accomplished. Seems we are more interested in assuring that we get a new $500M prison built and relocated than in assuring that someone can get some kind of treatment for diseases. Cannabis Oil is not something that is going to hurt the general public.

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