Veteran loses kids because of medical marijuana use

Some wars don’t have a winner.

The War on Drugs has a new casualty in Raymond Schwab, a Kansas father and honorably discharged U.S. veteran who has a legal medical marijuana prescription in Colorado.

The Guardian tells us Schwab, 40, who works for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, began planning his move to the more liberal state, where marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use, about nine months ago.

Medical marijuana is not legal in Kansas, however, and Schwab’s home state seized his five children, ages 5 to 16, on suspicion of child endangerment.

Schwab, who served in the Navy during the Gulf War and qualified for a medical disability, says he uses homemade cannabis butter to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. He tried prescription pills and became addicted to heroin for a while, he says, but has been clean since 2011.

It seems his children were not seized when he was addicted to heroin.

The federal government says parental drug use is equivalent to child abuse and in many cases they are probably right.

But, U.S. law also considers marijuana as dangerous as heroin, LSD and peyote and more dangerous than cocaine and prescription painkillers, the latter of which kill more people than any drug in America.

Schwab has been asked to submit a urine sample before visiting his children and he’s only seen his kids three times since April.

The vet has made quite a few mistakes in life — like posting his plan to operate a Colorado cannabis farm on Facebook — but he probably thought it was safe to leave his kids with his wife’s mom while he was moving. He was wrong. Before Schwab was 60 miles out of town, granny dropped the kids off with police and said they had been abandoned by parents who were off to farm loco weed.

The grandmother now says she regrets that decision.

Meanwhile, a Kansas judge says Schwab will only get his kids back if he quits using a drug legal in the state he now lives. The parents have to submit four months of clean urine samples.

The Denver Post reports Kansas childcare workers investigated the child endangerment claims against the Schwabs and all claims were dismissed as unsubstantiated.

“Why do [they] still have my children?” Schwab asks in the Denver Post.

Once he gets his kids back, Schwab plans to sue the state of Kansas for violation of his constitutional rights.

“They’re holding my kids hostage and threatening to terminate my rights if I don’t seek cannabis-abuse therapy in a state that’s legal. They’re threatening other people with jail time or losing their kids if they speak out, but I will not submit. I’ll take this to the Supreme Court if I have to,” he says in the Guardian.

The crux of the problem, of course, is that some form of medical marijuana is legal in all but 12 states but the federal government considers it a Schedule 1 narcotic.

Stories of parents who use legal medical marijuana and have their children seized seem increasingly common. [Example 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.]


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