At the age of 77, Florence ‘Flo’ Matheson, is running for a seat in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. However, aspiring congresswoman’s campaign was tainted for some after 180 weed plants were found on her property. Matheson admitted that two ounces of weed found inside her home belonged to her. As a two-to-three-times-per-week weed consumer, she planned on using one ounce and turning the other into cannabis oil. “I don’t feel that bad about breaking a bad law,” said Matheson. “I smoke marijuana. I’m guilty.”
The congressional candidate was renting out the barn to her friend Stephen Michael Harrington, 60, a homeless disabled veteran who she said came to her for help.
Harrington, who was serving three years probation for growing more than 20 marijuana plants at a different home last year, also faces criminal indictment.
Matheson said Harrington had the address of her property changed last year and that she should thus not be linked to the growing operation, according to Upper Cumberland Now.
The address is a match to the one Matheson used when she filed paperwork to run in the August primary election, although it is not clear when that paperwork was completed.
Harrington claimed he never sold anything and was growing the bud to treat chronic pain he suffered during his military service. He defended Matheson saying, “The only thing this woman is guilty of is helping out a homeless disabled vet who betrayed her trust.”
The Crossville PD execuated a search warrant on Matheson’s property on May 13. “Some evidence of an illegal grow operation were found inside the residence,’ reads the department’s official statement. “However, the full-scale cultivation was found in a large barn, just a few hundred yards away. The inside of the barn had been finished to create two separate tropical grow environments.”
Police also discovered “remote wireless surveillance equipment” along with a locked gate, a gun and cash. Matheson claims that the cops have blown the situation out of proportion, in order to make Harrington and herself “sound like Bonnie and Clyde.” She says that the “dummy camera” was installed to scare off people who had been knocking over her mailbox. Furthermore, she claims the locked gate was to keep her donkeys, llamas and horse from running away.
Matheson has stated that she plans to plead guilty if she is ultimately indicted. “The people are tired of politicians lying,” she explained. “And I’m not going to be a liar.” In the meantime, she will continue to campaign. Based on her treatment during this incident, she is more adamant than ever about decriminalizing and/or legalizing cannabis, which she has been vocal about. “I really don’t regret that this happened,” she said. “It’s been a life changing experience for me and in that it has made me more defiant and determined to try and get these laws changed.”