Beth Harwell (R) is trying to put herself at the forefront of the cannabis debate in Tennessee.
For a while now, the current House Speaker and gubernatorial candidate has been working to bring medical marijuana to Tennessee. So it's no surprise that in her latest campaign ad, Harwell bills herself as the only high-ranking Republican in the race who supports medical marijuana.
"Many suffer. Veterans, children with seizures, cancer patients, our elderly," Harwell says in the ad, according to the Tennessean. "I just know if it were my little one I would want this option."
Rivals for the Republican gubernatorial nomination like Congresswoman Diane Black, entrepreneur Randy Boyd and businessman Bill Lee all oppose medical marijuana. But the issue has received strong support from candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Both former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and current House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh have made medicinal cannabis legalization part of their platforms.
Unlike other reformers, Harwell advocates using cannabis oils as opposed to more conventional means of consumption such as smoking. And she does not support recreational cannabis.
While early polls show Harwell lagging, she remains confident that the has a shot at turning some of the state's undecided voters.
"I feel very good that we have an opportunity to peak at just the right time," Harwell said.