180 marijuana plants found at 77-year-old Congressional candidate’s home

CROSSVILLE, TN (NBC News) – Flo Matheson, a candidate for Congress in Tennessee has no hesitation when it comes to speaking out about smoking pot.

Flo is facing legal problems. More than 180 marijuana plants were found on her property. She denies knowing about the grow operation but doesn’t hesitate to talk about what she calls a bad law.

“I smoke marijuana,” Matheson said. “I’m guilty, I did it.”

It’s not often you hear about a 77-year-old woman running for office admitting to smoking weed. She knows it’s illegal but also says there’s no such thing as bad publicity and is now using that to help her campaign.

“I really don’t regret that this happened,” Matheson 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.”

RELATED: Ohio House lawmakers pass medical marijuana bill

It was last Friday the Crossville Police Department served a search warrant at Matheson’s home. Police say they found an indoor grow operation in a barn behind her house with more than 180 plants.

“I had never seen them – I never went back there,” Matheson insists.

She says her friend Stephen Harrington needed a place to stay. He used the barn and fixed things up around her house.

“He was now a disabled vet he was homeless and penniless,” she said

But it was inside her house two ounces of weed, cash, and a gun was found.

“The weed that was in your house was not what was in our backyard? Exactly.”

RELATED: School district approves medical marijuana for students

She says it was given to her by a friend who owed her money.

“I guess I would say I smoke it about 2 or three times a week.”

Matheson said she understand people doubting her leadership after breaking the law, but isn’t too worried about it.

“I do,” Matheson said while laughing. “But, I tell ya I don’t feel that bad about breaking a bad law.”

She even admitted to making oil.

“I made it. From leaves that Mr. Harrington gave me, but they were not from his grow because he didn’t have any plants that far along.”

Matheson is a Democrat running for the 6th Congressional District seat occupied by Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

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