04/27/2012 11:50 am ET Updated Apr 27, 2012

Kirk Sherrill, North Carolina GOP Candidate, Runs On Pro-Medical Marijuana Platform After Arrest

Kirk Sherrill received a felony conviction for growing marijuana after deputies pulled out "hundreds" of plants from beneath his North Carolina home nearly five years ago. Now he's running for a state House seat as a Republican.

Sherrill is quick to tell North Carolina's WSOC that he'll never break the law again, but he's not entirely backing away from his past.

The Republican ex-convict is making increased access to medical marijuana one of the staples of his campaign, and he happily touts his earlier effort to encourage the state House to adopt his resolution on the matter. Sherill has also placed marijuana leaf imagery on campaign yard signs, business cards and a large portion of his website.

He's also credited his prior indiscretions with giving rise to his political aspirations.

"I would never be out here if I never got in trouble," he told WSOC.

Sherrill says a large part of his reason for pushing the initiative is to help injured veterans who are frequently forced to turn to prescription drugs with dangerous side effects to deal with pain.

"We're treating veterans like criminals," Sherrill said upon entering the race earlier this year. "A veteran defends his country for 10 years, comes home with a leg blown off and he's treated like a criminal? Somebody needs to stand up for him."

Sherrill is facing fellow Republicans Rena Turner and Frank Mitchell in the GOP primary. Voters will choose their candidate when they head to the polls on May 8.