Activist: DCF shouldn't take babies over medical marijuana

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A man is ready to end his hunger strike, but not his fight against the Kansas Department of Children and Families.

Raymond Schwab told 13 NEWS that he will start eating again Wednesday, the same day advocates join him to announce a federal lawsuit.

Marijuana expert and activist Cheryl Shuman flew in from California to show Schwab support and offer help.

On Day 16 of his hunger strike, Shuman of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club walked up the statehouse steps to tell Schwab she will help him file a federal lawsuit.

Schwad said he's excited, while Shuman believes all eyes in the world will be on Kansas Wednesday.

Schwab said they will officially announce the lawsuit Wednesday morning at 11.

"I'm ready just to get my children home," Schwab said.

The Schwabs believe Raymond's use of marijuana for treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress disorder is a factor in losing their children. The couple now lives in Colorado, where use of medical cannabis is legal.

DCF said it cannot discuss specifics of the case without a signed release form from the Schwabs, but did say they are not telling the whole story.

"What is best for the children is to stay with the families and we are medical marijuana patients, we are not criminals," Shuman said.

Shuman said it's not just the marijuana issues that brings her here, it's more so about being a mom.

"The most tragic thing in the world is to lose your children and no child should ever have to go to foster care because their parents are medical marijuana patients it's just wrong," Shuman said.

"Every hearing has been about us being cannabis patients. The allegations were unsubstantiated," said Schwab, "I have people ask me 'why don't they still have your children' and I respond, 'I don't know'."

Schwab said although his hunger strike will soon end, he will continue to petition on the Capital steps until his permit expires on April 23rd.

"I'm here to fight for this family, to get their kids back," Shuman said.

Schwab has signed a release of records for Jennifer Winn, an advocate from Wichita.

DCF told 13 NEWS it is a large file, and they expect to release what can legally be released some time this week.