Quarles Promises to Legalize Medical Marijuana in First Year, if Elected Governor

Lexington, Ky–In an op-ed published in the Lexington Herald-Leader Thursday, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and Republican candidate for Governor Ryan Quarles voiced his support for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state. Quarles, who said he oversaw the successful growth of Kentucky’s hemp licensing program, argued that legalizing medical marijuana would be a responsible decision that would benefit both patients and farmers.

Quarles stated that he would work to get the government out of the way when it comes to medical decisions between patients and doctors. He also pledged to build a farmer-focused program that would ensure Kentucky’s farm families are at the heart of the medical marijuana industry.

In addition, Quarles argued that medical marijuana should be financially independent and not treated as just another revenue source for bigger government. He promised to fight against any attempts to tax families who need medical help.

Quarles also emphasized the potential health benefits of cannabinoids derived from hemp, such as CBD. He called on President Biden and the FDA to give a path forward for these substances.

As Agriculture Commissioner, Quarles said he’s “proven that I have the leadership skills” by building a successful hemp program that law enforcement officials and people across the state can depend on. As a Republican candidate for Governor, he pledged to enact a medical marijuana bill by the General Assembly in his first year in office and build a program that would benefit patients and farmers, not “big government.”

Quarles argued that his proposals come in contrast to Governor Andy Beshear’s executive orders that allowed for medical marijuana use, but were criticized for being temporary half-measures. Quarles wrote that Beshear was incapable of working with the legislature to pass a responsible medical marijuana law.

Governor Andy Beshear previously called for legislation allowing medical marijuana in his January 2023 State of the State address.