Editorial: Mother should not have had to flee Utah


(Images from SLCTrib.com)

The idea that one could find relief from all kinds of discomforts by simply packing up and leaving Utah has long been a popular joke.

For one young mother, though, it's not funny.

Enedina Stanger has decamped from her South Weber home and, along with her husband and two young children, joined the tribe of medical refugees who have found their way to Colorado. There, without fear of further legal harassment, she is able to do the one thing that she has found will relieve the painful symptoms of a rare disease, and that's to smoke marijuana.

The fact that people in such pain and misery have to leave their home state to find relief is a shame to Utah, one that the Legislature should address in its regular session beginning next month.

Stanger suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It has confined her to a wheelchair, left her suffering constant pain, nausea and anxiety and waiting helplessly for the next time one or more of her bones might spontaneously dislocate themselves.

She was busted for smoking marijuana last October in South Ogden and charged with a third-degree felony because police said she was smoking in a vehicle with her 2-year-old daughter present.

Stanger denied that she smokes, then or ever, in the presence of her children. But she dutifully returned to Utah earlier this month to plead guilty to a misdemeanor possession charge. The judge showed about as much decency as the law allowed, placing Stanger on probation, requiring her to take a parenting class and not to break the law for two years.

Given that Stanger's ability to function as a parent is enhanced, rather than harmed, by the use of marijuana, the educational requirement is galling. And, by remaining in Colorado, where both the medical and recreational use of cannabis have been duly legalized, staying within the law is no longer a concern.

Sen. Mark Madsen plans to take another run at getting the Legislature to adopt his bill that would allow the use of certain marijuana extracts to treat various medical conditions. Approval of that bill would be a huge step forward.

Standing in its way, though, will be strong opposition from the But We've Always Done It This Way Caucus of the Legislature, unreconstructed drug warriors and some medical professionals whose allegiance to Big Pharma and affection for legal-but-deadly opioids will cloud their judgment more than any joint ever has.

What Enedina Stanger did was not wrong. It should not be illegal.

Read the full article on Sltrib.com...