Veteran Loses Custody of Children for Using Medical Marijuana

Raymond Schwab is filled with rage and disbelief at the state of Kansas for taking his children into custody due to allegations of child abuse.

Schwab is a veteran, and after several attempts to alleviate his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—including excessive alcohol consumption, addiction to prescription pills, and even heroin use— he finally found medicinal marijuana as the most effective solution.

Since his rehab in 2011, Schwab claimed that medicinal marijuana, which is now legalized for recreational and medicinal purposes in Colorado, helps with his anxiety, depression, and physical pain. It has also helped keep him clean of other drugs and alcohol.

After Schwab finally found that cannabis butter was the most effective cure for his PTSD, he decided to move his wife and children, ages 5-19, to Colorado in order to start growing and selling medicinal marijuana to veterans like himself.

While preparing to make the move, Schwab and Amelia left their children with a relative in Kansas, planning to pick them up once everything was settled for the entire family to move in.

The relative, whom remains unnamed, took the children to a police station and claimed that the family abandoned the children in order to work on a marijuana farm in Colorado.

Subsequently, more accusations were made against Schwab and Amelia, this time suggesting that they were endangering their children on accounts of marijuana abuse and emotional abuse, although the allegations were found “unsubstantiated.” The children– two of whom are from Amelia’s previous marriage and weren’t taken into custody– are with Child Protective Services.

The children were also thought to be endangered by the move due to the possibilities of getting a proximity high and eating uncooked marijuana plants.

When Schwab was asked about the predicament his family was in, he responded by saying that, “People who don’t understand the medical value of cannabis are tearing my family apart.”

Schwab’s children were taken into custody last April, and he has only seen them three times since.

Schwab and his family aren’t the only people who have found themselves in this situation though. Jennifer Ani, a family law attorney, told the Guardian that, “There’s still a stigma against parents who use medical marijuana”.

She also mentioned that there are approximately five cases a month similar to this one and that only five percent of the children actually in harm’s way. The rest of the situations don’t pose any actual threat to the children.

“As much as marijuana is a moving target throughout the nation, with Child Protective Services it’s even more so.” Ani said.

Families are being targeted, and with the legalization in neighboring Colorado, the lines get even more blurred.

In the state of Kansas, where marijuana is not yet legalized, Schwab’s case falls under rules characterizing “Parental Drug Use As Child Abuse” which states that, “Exposing children to the manufacture, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs is considered child endangerment in 11 States [including Kansas].”

When psychiatrist Dr. Sue Sisley was asked about Schwab’s case, she mentioned that in order for Schwab to be a good parent (given his PTSD), that he need to have his medicine—which for him is cannabis.

“A lot of these vets, they can’t function without their meds,” Sisley explained. “And they have to live in fear of a positive drug test, and losing their kids to Child Protective Services. So they live this crazy, covert lifestyle where they’re afraid to be open to the people around them, for fear that they’ll call CPS.”

Schwab remains livid about the outcome, and he demands that he gain custody over his children. He is planning on taking his case to the Supreme Court, if necessary, arguing that his rights are being violated.