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A U.S. veteran is fighting to regain custody of his five children after the state of Kansas took them into protective care on suspicion of child endangerment.

His crime? Using medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

According to The Guardian,

A US navy veteran who served in the Gulf war, Schwab says that he uses a homemade cannabis butter to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and chronic pain. For years, he says, his mental health issues went undiagnosed, resulting in a bout of alcoholism and substance abuse. He was prescribed a variety of sedatives, antidepressants and chronic pain medication, which he says often made him feel worse. “I got addicted to the pain medication, which led to heroin addiction.”

Schwab says that he has been sober since a stint in rehab in 2011, and that cannabis is the only medication that helps with his anxiety, depression and physical pain.

Schwab arranged in early 2015 for his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs to be transferred from Kansas to Colorado, where he could legally grow his own cannabis and work with veterans who, like him, use the plant medicinally.

While dealing with the move, he and his wife, Amelia, arranged for their five children, ages 5 to 16, to stay with relatives. After driving 60 miles away from home, the Schwabs received a call saying they needed to appear in an emergency hearing that day because their children were in state custody.

Schwab says that one of the relatives caring for his children (whom he declines to name) took them to the police station, saying their parents had abandoned them to go work on a pot farm in Colorado. That was in April last year, and Schwab says he has only seen his children three times since then.

“People who don’t understand the medical value of cannabis are tearing my family apart”, Schwab said.

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