Oklahoma and Nebraska have filed suit with the Supreme Court because they claim Colorado’s marijuana legalization interferes with their marijuana prohibition. But in neighboring Kansas, one county is using a veteran’s kids to enforce their marijuana prohibition in Colorado.
The Denver Post reported the story of Raymond and Amelia Schwab and their five minor children, aged 5 to 16. Raymond is a Gulf War vet on 50 percent disability from the U.S. Navy. He suffers from post-traumatic stress* and chronic pain.
He tried a litany of muscle relaxants, pain relievers and anti-anxiety pills prescribed by Veteran’s Affairs doctors, to little avail. He soon developed a heroin addiction as well.
Raymond was living in Colorado in 2000 when the state passed its medical marijuana amendment. He got his medical marijuana “red card” and overcame his heroin addiction with medical marijuana. He found that marijuana worked better for his pain and stress as well.
In 2013, Raymond gets a job offer to work for the VA in Topeka, Kansas. He, Amelia and their kids moved, and he was working a job that he loved, helping other veterans. But in 2015, he received an offer for a transfer to Denver.
Eager to return to where medical marijuana is legal, Raymond and Amelia start packing for the trip. That’s when Amelia’s mother took the five Schwab children—her grandkids—to the police in a neighboring county and reported them as abandoned.
That was nine months ago. Raymond and Amelia have only seen their kids three times since.
Now, child protection services and a judge in that county have issued Raymond an ultimatum. If he wants to get his kids back, among other conditions, he must provide four consecutive months of drug-free urinalysis screens, including marijuana, which is completely legal where Raymond and Amelia are living.
“What if I didn’t make it through four months?” Raymond wondered, but it’s actually worse than that. If Raymond is a regular cannabis consumer, it may take one or two months of abstinence before he sees his first negative urine screen. Then, even during the four months of abstinence, it’s not impossible to get a false positive or even a true positive from a delayed release.
Raymond, the Gulf War vet, might have to suffer from his post-traumatic stress and chronic pain for half a year or more to get his kids back.
The Kansas court has no basis for policing Raymond’s cannabis use.
They have no drug test from him or evidence of possession on him. There’s no evidence his kids were exposed to marijuana. They have only the complaint of the grandmother that the kids were abandoned, a decision she says she now regrets. They even investigated allegations of emotional abuse, charges the state found unsubstantiated.
In essence, what we have here is a Kansas agency and judge kidnapping a Colorado man’s children and ransoming them for his health and his Colorado constitutional right to use cannabis. How can a judge use Kansas prohibition to keep a Colorado cannabis consumer from his kids?
Kansas is supposed to be one of those good, God-fearing Christian states, where marijuana is prohibited because "What About The Children?!?"
Yes, what about a five-year-old spending nine months separated from mommy and daddy because of the flower that makes daddy feel better and stops his war nightmares?
This is the same state where Shona Banda still fights for her 11-year-old. She’s a Crohn’s disease patient who’s a published author on her medical marijuana use. When her child corrected a D.A.R.E. officer’s propaganda against marijuana, the police promptly escorted him from class and interrogated him without Shona present. That led to a warrant and a search of Shona’s home, discovering her cannabis medicine. Now, she’s separated from her child and facing felony charges.
So what about an 11-year-old mustering up the courage to confront the lies of an authority figure in a place of education, only to be rewarded with the guilt of potentially putting his mother behind bars?
Kansas, you can’t claim to prohibit marijuana to benefit the children when your prohibition is hurting the children worse than medical marijuana use by their parents ever could. A state that clamors so regularly about “state’s rights” reaching across state lines to interfere with another state’s constitution only adds hypocrisy to the irony.
* I don’t call it PTSD. There’s nothing “disordered” about an empathic human’s brain being traumatized.
(Photo Courtesy of NM Political Report)