Kansas took a Colorado veteran’s children after discovering he uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Raymond Schwab moved to Colorado from Kansas where, unlike in Kansas, medicinal marijuana is legal, the Denver Post reports. There, he sought to treat both his physical pain and PTSD.
Since serving in the Gulf War from 1994-1996 and being honorably discharged, Schwab has tried a variety of medications prescribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to deal with his symptoms, none of which has helped.
These include anti-anxiety drugs, pain medications and muscle relaxants that the veteran says “made me worse.”
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The medical marijuana, he explains, is finally helping him.
Because of the differences in state marijuana laws, Kansas took away five of the veteran's six children in April 2015.
Initially the state was investigating claims he and his wife were emotionally abusive, but these reports were dismissed as unsubstantiated a few months later.
"They're basically using my kids as a pawn to take away freedoms I fought for," he added. "It's a horrible position to put me in."
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A Kansas judge and child protection workers are now demanding he stop using marijuana if he wants his children back. They state he must demonstrate four months of drug-free urinalysis tests.
"What if I didn't make it through four months?" he asked, concerned his condition will get worse without the medicinal drug.
This is not the first time a Kansas parent may lose a child due to medicinal marijuana use.
Shona Banda was arrested for child endangerment and felony drug charges after her 11-year-old son told someone at school that she used the drug, The Cannabist reports.
Banda is an activist and speaker who wrote a book, “Live Free or Die: Reclaim Your Life... Reclaim your Country!” about using cannabis oil to treat her Crohn's disease.
"With Crohn's disease, it's like having a stomach flu that won't go away,” she said in a 2010 YouTube video. “[But after using cannabis oil] I'm working for the first time in four years. I'm hiking. I'm swimming. I'm able to play with my kids … Anything beats raising your kids from a couch and lying there in pain all day."