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Republican Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Ryan Quarles endorses legalizing medical marijuana

Republican Gubernatiorial candidate Ryan Quarles said Tuesday he would work to legalize medical marijuana if elected governor. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Quarles vowed to work to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky during his first year in office if elected.

During a press conference on the front steps of the State Capitol, Quarles, the current Commissioner of Agriculture, said he has extensive experience on the issue. “There’s no candidate better positioned in this race to have a conversation on what the framework would be like, to help pass a responsible medical marijuana bill through the General Assembly,” he said.

His proposal has three points:

• There needs to be a dialogue between doctors and patients, to keep big government out of it.

• Do not tax it, treat it like other forms of medication.

• Let citizens use products that are derived from the cannabis plant, including Kentucky hemp, or new varieties that may be introduced.

“Let Kentucky farmers have the ability to benefit from this public policy change, as well,” Quarles said. “As your next governor, I will work with the Kentucky General Assembly to get this passed in my first year in office.”

He noted that Gov. Andy Beshear and his executive orders have muddied the water on this issue. “I’ve talked to healthcare providers; I’ve talked to patients. His executive orders, by bypassing the General Assembly, have caused confusion. What we need is to have a conversation that is proactive, one that does not bypass the General Assembly.”

Quarles said his background as a former state lawmaker means he has the ability to work with the General Assembly on this and other issues.

“I think that this is an access to care issue for many Kentuckians across our Commonwealth. We want to do it legally as well, not just through executive orders, but by having conversations and consensus-driven, bi-partisan support that gets the policy right.”

Quarles is one of 12 Republicans seeking his party’s nomination, and the right to take on Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear’s bid for re-election in November. Quarles said he will unveil his position on one issue per week between now and the May primary.

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One Comment

  1. Jan Stogner says:

    When will Ryan Quarles start official campaign, especially in western KY?

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