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A South Weber woman with a rare chronic disease is working to change Utah’s laws after being convicted for using marijuana. The mother of two young children was booked and released from Weber County jail Monday.

Enedina Stanger has a rare form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It effects the connective tissue in her body. The way she describes it, her bones are constantly dislocating.

“I wake up every day and pain, that’s it,” Stanger says.

She can’t take opiates or narcotics because they have adverse effects on her condition. The only thing she’s found that helps is marijuana. But in October, after her collar bone had slipped out of place, she was caught by police in her car in a store parking lot with cannabis. She was told she would be charged with child endangerment since one of her daughters was in the car, but Stanger maintains that she did not use marijuana with her daughter present. Three days later, the family moved to Colorado, where Stanger can use medical marijuana legally.

“I want to come home,” she says. “I want to raise my family among people that love us, and I can’t do that until the laws are changed everywhere.”

 

As part of a plea deal, a second district court judge reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor – possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone. Stanger was sentenced to six months of probation and must attend parenting classes. Stanger told the judge she would do anything to make medical marijuana legal, because her daughters – age three and four – were recently diagnosed with the same condition.

“I didn’t want to be the marijuana mom of Utah, but this is what has to happen so that my daughters can have access to a medicine for a condition that doctors can’t help,” she says. “I know what works.”

The Utah legislature is expected to consider two competing medical marijuana bills.  One would legalize only cannabis extract oil, but Stanger says that won’t help her condition. She supports a broader bill that would legalize medications containing a variety of marijuana products.

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