Police busting a marijuana grow operation isn’t really news. Not even when they find a barn packed with hundreds of healthy plants, a fat stash of cash and firearms. These things happen every day all over the nation. But when the perpetrator is a 77-year old woman running for congress, the story gains some engrossing weight.
Florence ‘Flo’ Matheson, a democratic congressional candidate from Tennessee, has been all over the Internet since last Friday. When police raided her home in Crossville, Tennessee they discovered a full-scale cultivation operation built inside the barn in her backyard. The structure was separated into two tropical grow environments housing over 180 plants, complete with grow lights and a remote wireless surveillance system – a setup that probably cost thousands of dollars in monthly electric bills to maintain.
Additionally, police found two ounces of pot, a pistol, a handful of cash and evidence of another illegal grow operation inside her home. Her response to this discovery was confident denial:
“I had never seen [the marijuana grow] … I never went back there.”
Apparently Flo rented out the barn to a disabled veteran friend of hers named Stephen Harrington, who needed a place to stay. They had an arrangement – he fixed things up around her house, and in return he could use the barn out back. Flo maintains that she had no idea that copious amounts of weed were growing right in her backyard.
But she did own up to the pot found inside her home:
“I don’t feel bad about breaking a bad law. I smoke Marijuana. I’m guilty. I did it.”
Flo emphasized that she was even glad the police had raided her home and found the pot:
“I don’t really regret what happened. It’s been a life changing experience for me in that it has made me more defiant and determined to get these laws changed.”
Flo Matheson sounds like the kind of congresswoman we need to get elected! … Unfortunately, that may be highly challenging in the face of her criminal indictment. Political candidates can’t often survive those two words. And sadly, this event may have drained Flo Matheson’s political image of all legitimacy (at least amongst voters in TN).
Despite the odds stacked against her, Flo Matheson is pushing forward with her campaign – proclaiming her innocence, and denouncing the strict laws against cannabis in the US.
“I’m willing to put my head on a block for it.” She said. “I’m just one person and there are millions of people suffering. If I can do anything to dilute the suffering of people, I will do it.”
We need more politicians like Florence Matheson – game changers; badass progressives who act out like rebels to get their voices heard and make change… But sadly, they all seem to get arrested before they ever get elected.
Sources: http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/17/tennessee-democratic-congressional-candidate-facing-indictment-marijuana-grow/84499672/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3602792/180-marijuana-plants-backyard-Tennessee-congressional-candidate.html, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/tenn-congressional-candidate-77-busted-marijuana-operation-article-1.2645159, http://kxan.com/2016/05/20/77-year-old-congressional-candidate-found-with-marijuana-grow-operation/