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15 Jan, 2016 12:09

PTSD-afflicted veteran deprived of his 5 children over medical marijuana use

PTSD-afflicted veteran deprived of his 5 children over medical marijuana use

The family of a Gulf War veteran suffering PTSD lost custody of their youngest kids after moving from Colorado, where treatment with medical marijuana is legal, to Kansas, where pot is illegal. They have seen their children three times since last April.

Veteran Raymond Schwab and his wife Amelia are fighting to get back their five children, aged five to 16, taken from them by Kansas child-protection workers after a family squabble, while the family was preparing to move back to Colorado from the Kansas capital, Topeka. Raymond had worked there as benefits agent for fellow veterans since 2013 and was offered a same job in Denver.

Kansas child-protection workers took five youngest Schwab children after Amelia’s mother took the kids to a police station in another county and reported them abandoned - something she now reportedly regrets.

The children were taken from their parents’ custody and a child-abuse investigation was launched, alleging that Raymond and Amelia emotionally abused all five children. The allegations were dropped as unsubstantiated three months later, however the children were not returned to the parents.

Kansas child-protection workers and a Kansas judge are now demanding that Schwab give up cannabis in order to get the kids back, a deprivation that should be confirmed with four months of drug-free urinalysis tests.

After serving in the Navy from 1994 to 1996, Raymond Schwab, 40, qualified for a 50 percent disability rating.

To deal with his PTSD symptoms, the Department of Veterans Affairs prescribed Schwab with an assortment of medicines, including anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants and pain medicines. However, they did not work well for the veteran.

“They were making me crazy, they made me worse,” he said, confessing that he even developed a heroin addiction because of his problems, but managed to overcome the cacoethes many years ago - with the help of cannabis therapy.

After years of using marijuana for medical purposes, Raymond Schwab is not sure he can hold on without cannabis for four months.

“They're basically using my kids as a pawn to take away freedoms I fought for,” Raymond Schwab told the Denver Post. “It's a horrible position to put me in.”

In Colorado, where medical and later recreational use of marijuana was legalized by a referendum, Schwab obtained his own card and had no problems treating post-traumatic stress and chronic pain with pot.

In Kansas it’s a different story, as the state has not allowed even medical marijuana use.

“I don't think what we're doing is illegal, immoral or wrong,” Amelia said.

According to the Denver Post, as of Wednesday, Kansas child welfare officials had failed to return phone calls regarding the Schwabs’ case.