UTAH – Enedina Stanger is a 27-year-old Mormon mom from Weber County, UT. From the outside, she looks like your average loving mother. She is a devout, churchgoing Latter Day Saint and loves her children very much. You would never know that she was facing felony charges.
On December 28th, 2015, Enedina turned herself in for child endangerment. Why? Because on October 1st, 2015, she and her family had a family outing when she was caught with marijuana in her vehicle. Stanger said that she felt ill, so she decided to stay in the car, and her young daughter accompanied her. After some time in the vehicle with her daughter, her child joined her husband and Stanger smoked a marijuana joint by herself in the car. It was then that she was told she had committed a felony.
That day, there was a real estate showing of their home and Stanger did not want anyone to come across her cannabis, which she uses for its medicinal benefits. She said that she took the substance with her so that potential buyers did not accidentally find it, but unfortunately, the police did.
Stanger is one of very few people that suffer from a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The syndrome breaks down the connective tissues in her body and she is in pain every day. Her muscles have to hold her skeleton in place and her bones displace even with the simplest daily activities. For Stanger, cannabis is a necessity.
While Stanger noted that she knew it was illegal to use in Utah, she “had to risk it to be alive.” Stanger is one of a growing demographic of young mothers that believe in the power of medicinal marijuana. She has seen the drug work wonders. That being said, she is accepting her punishment, but she is not going without a fight. She has asked that cameras follow her to her booking so people recognize that she is not a criminal for using medicinal marijuana.
Recently, Stanger’s children were diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Stanger’s primary concern is the Utahan government’s inflexibility with medicinal marijuana. She does not want her children to be denied the medical care that they need due to their genetic disorder.
While Stanger’s felony was decreased to a misdemeanor, she still faces six months of probation and she has been forced to move to Colorado, where her medicine of choice is legal. That does not mean that Stanger has given up the fight against the Utahan government.
“If I have to go to jail or go to prison to make sure my daughters have a new form of medicine, and a way they can survive and not be hurt, and not have medicine that will ruin their life, I will do anything I can,” she says.
Marijuana has been proven to be much safer than many pharmaceuticals, but according to the federal government, it is still a Schedule I drug, alongside dangerous drugs such as heroin.