A Gulf War veteran who legally uses medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder is fighting with Kansas child welfare officials for custody of five of his children, who were taken from him after a dispute in April, the Denver Post reports. According to their story, Raymond Schwab was told that a condition of the children’s return was that he provide four months of drug-free urinalysis tests, including cannabis.
Schwab told the Post that Kansas Child Protective Service workers took custody of his and his wife’s five youngest children—aged five to sixteen years old—just before he moved from Topeka to Denver last year.
As a PTSD patient, Schwab tried a range of treatments—and at one point became addicted to heroin—before finding that pot was the most useful for easing his symptoms. A job opening with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs took him from Colorado, where he had a medical card, to Kansas, where medical and recreational marijuana is illegal, in 2013. When a job with the VA opened in Denver in April, he took it as an opportunity to move back to somewhere where he could legally use cannabis.
The Rumpelstiltskin-esque behavior of Kansas child services isn’t the only bizarre part of the story. Raymond and Amelia Schwab’s children were taken into state custody in the first place because Amelia’s mother alleged that they were abandoned after an unspecified “family squabble”:
But two years later, he decided to transfer to a VA job in Denver, where medical cannabis is legal. That’s when a family squabble led to the loss of five children aged 5 to 16.
Raymond and Amelia say that as they were packing to leave, her mother took the kids to a police station in another county and reported them abandoned, an action her mother now regrets.
The Schwabs allege that a subsequent investigation found no abuses of their children. Kansas child welfare department did not respond to the paper’s requests for comment.