Utah mom with rare disorder booked on marijuana possession; pushes for change in state law

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WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- A South Weber family is fighting to change state medical marijuana laws after the mother got charged with possessing a substance she said is saving her life.

On Monday morning, the Stanger family approached the Weber County Sheriff’s Complex, as mom Enedina prepared to head to jail.

Battling a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlo Syndrome (EDS), Enedina is wheelchair-bound.

Her stint at the jailhouse was only for the morning- she had to get booked and released as she prepared to carry out her sentence for a drug possession charge.

A judge handed the mother of two, six months of probation and required attendance at parenting classes, after an October incident where she said a police officer found her with marijuana in a grocery store parking lot.

She said a passerby had complained of the smell. Her daughter was in the car when the officer arrived.

Originally, she said, “They decided to charge me with child endangerment.” But, she went on to say, the judge reduced that felony charge to the misdemeanor possession in a restricted area, as part of a plea deal.

She uses marijuana to manage her disorder. EDS causes her joints to dislocate, sending off waves of muscle spasms and pain.

“When that happens there is nothing that we have been able to find that stops those spasms and those cramps,” she said.

After a year of failure with several types of prescription medication, she and her husband Michael said they turned to cannabis.

The last resort turned out to be the only thing that worked, they said.

“Cannabis is a medicine,” Michael said.

While the two Stanger children—Elena, 4 and Eva, 3—haven’t seen Enedina use it, they’re learning the law bans marijuana.

After the charge, Child and Family Services came knocking at the door to investigate.

The family had already fled to Colorado, where marijuana is legal and where they said they wouldn’t face having their kids taken away.

But all they can think of is coming home. They want the laws in Utah to change.

“We're going to try to make a difference. It's a fight we were thrown into,” Michael said. “Instead of getting beat up, we're going to fight.”

They support a bill that legislators are expected to look over this coming session, that would allow access to medical marijuana.

A bill that some are already against.

“To just sit there and say, ‘Because of this one case here with this rare condition, we throw open the barn doors?’ I'm not ready to go there,” said Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem.

He’s proposing his own version of a medical marijuana bill, one that’s more restrictive.

While the Stangers don’t favor that bill, they will have their eyes on the session.

Plus, their interest goes beyond just getting back home to Utah—Enedina’s daughters have both been diagnosed with EDS, and are already showing symptoms.

The family plans to make several return trips to push for the law and garner support, as they look to transform Enedina’s case into legislative action.



  • Dan Gray

    Push all you want, wont make a difference. As long as federal law says its illegal, there is nothing a state law can do. The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution clearly says that “if a state or local law is passed and is in conflict with a federal law, the federal law takes precedence and the lower laws are null and void” meaning that even though colorado and Washington State and any other state say you can smoke pot, federal marshals can come in and bust you and send you to jail. The only way to correct this is to get Congress to change the law. Until they do its illegal and you can still be arrested and charged no matter what your state or local law says.

    • Andy

      The commerce clause does not say that. The commerce clause says that congress can regulate a product to protect the economy. It says nothing about supremacy over states. It says nothing about prohibiting anything. The commerce clause was intended to keep the market of another state or country from flooding the market of another to cause commerce to crash leading to a monopoly. It’s anti-monopoly protection. It’s how our government adds tariffs against other countries to say keep some country like china from destroying our manufacturing economy. It’s to prevent say kansas from flooding the wheat market of Oklahoma thereby destroying Oklahoma’s farming industry. Using the commerce clause to support prohibition of a substance, is a strong perversion of our constitution.

    • Andy

      The Commerce Clause refers to “Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”

      Notice the word regulate and not prohibit. Read the entire clause, it says nothing about supremacy over the states. In fact there’s an amendment to the US constitution that discusses states rights. There’s also a portion of the constitution that specifically says, “powers no delegated to congress by the constitution, are reserved to the states.” Ever wonder why prohibition of alcohol required a constitutional amendment? Did you know that even despite the 18th amendment that alcohol possession was still legal if it were purchased or manufactured prior to ratification. Did you know that despite the 18th amendment that congress had the foresight to still allow for alcohol to be used medically, even if it were not traditional uses? Did you know that both the marijuana tax act and the 1961 narcotics act were found unconstitutional in 1971. How is it that Nixon’s controlled substance act of 1971 is constitutional, when it for the most part was a recreation of previous acts found unconstitutional?

      Additionally, your choices in medical treatment are protected by the us constitution. This protection does not say it’s only protected if it’s a us government approved medical treatment/medication.

      This drug war is unconstitutional despite the perverted acceptance of it by all 3 branches of government. It’s only a matter of time before we look back at this the same way as we see slavery and women’s rights.


      You’d better alert Colorado. If you are an adult 21 years of age or older, you can now legally possess one ounce of marijuana in Colorado.

    • David Whittington

      Yo Dan Gray My Boy: Recreational cannabis is currently completely legal (by state laws) in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Recreational cannabis is also legal in Washington D.C. Do you really think the Feds are now going to kick in doors and arrest and jail the MILLIONS of cannabis users in these states ? Pah-leese. The ONLY reason cannabis is still listed on the DEA’s ‘Schedule I’ narcotic list is because Richard Nixon hated hippies. Cannabis should NOT be on ANY DEA lists because cannabis is NOT dangerous. Cannabis has never caused anyone’s death. Cannabis is far safer than refined sugar. Refined sugar should be illegal because it kills MILLIONS of people every year. Refined sugar should be ON the DEA’s lists and Cannabis should be OFF the DEA’s lists. And one last point here (and don’t take this the wrong way), you are a FOOL !

    • Travis

      You obviously have no idea how state laws work, because there are plenty of states that have made it legal, while being federally legal. Washington, California, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and many other states have legalized it.

    • Joy Middlemas

      God GAVE us Cannabis and it has proven to be beyond amazing for so many many people. So as I see it, God helps those that help themselves. The Federal Government spent millions to discredit and defame a plant that is showing nothing but good. The were wrong. Time to evolve and move forward. LEGALIZE it and let it help us! God would be proud!

  • Curt

    I hope this lady is successful in getting this law passed. I’m a LDS resident of Washington State and we made the use of Marijuana legal; medical or recreational; I voted “Yes”. I was severely injured and as a results have had 3 back surgeries, two shoulder surgeries, left hip surgery, abdominal surgery and lower right leg surgery. I was absolutely ADDICTED to prescription Morphine to manage pain until I tried some marijuana oil cookies. 5 years later – I don’t take a SINGLE medication. I’m back to the gym exercising and I eat a cookie now and then when needed. I have GREAT benefits and NONE of the addiction problems related to opiates!

    Additionally, last year we had our annual HempFest in Seattle. 250,000 people poured into the Seattle Center over the 3 day event and the police handed out bags of Doritos. Do you know how many fights we had? How many arrests we had? How many robberies we had? How many accidents we had? ZERO, NADA, NOTHING. Imagine if that was a Jack Daniels Fest with 250,000 people…

    Now that the Universities of Washington and Colorado are studying the benefits of Marijuana, I am sure the United States will soon find out what most of the world already knows; Marijuana is a blessing!

  • Tonya Brothwell

    I too have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome…it is a very painful debilitating disease. Although on the outside we look “normal” we are loosing abilities to function day by day. I cannot garden…deep clean anything…work full time… Sometimes get out of bed without assistance from my kids..I do take medication from the pain clinic but am only given 30 pills for the month so then I am forced to make the decision of am I in enough pain yet…or will it be worse in an hour….for me to have enough to last. Sleepless nights…in too much pain to sleep…I don’t do “drugs” but I think it would really help if at night before bed I smoked it…it may make me relax my joints and muscles enough to ease the pain. It would be worth the experiment vs living in pain for ever…this disease is chronic it only gets worse not better.

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