Marlene Mortler attended the agricultural school in 1981, in Roth and gained a master's certificate. In 1983, she took over the parental farm in Dehnberg with her husband and focused on the production of grain and renewable resources.
Marlene Mortler is Protestant, married since 1975 and mother of three children.
In 1989, she joined the CSU, and in 1996, she became a member of the Women's Union. Since June 2009, Mortler is deputy chairman of the CSU district association Middle Franconia, and in October 2011 she was elected as a member of the CSU Board.
Since 1990 Marlene Mortler belonged to the district council of the district of Nürnberger Land. From 1996 to 2004 she served as first deputy district administrator of the district.
In 2002, Mortler became a member of the German Bundestag. Here she has worked primarily in the Committees on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, as well as for tourism. From 2004 to 2005, she was agricultural and consumer policy spokesperson for the CSU state group. From 2005 to 2009, she was president of the parliamentary committee for tourism, and Mortler is tourism spokeswoman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. Since February 2010, she is member of the German-Maltese and German-Hungarian Parliamentary Group, and since October 2011 a member of the CSU Board and since November 2011 state chairman of the Working Group on Agriculture of the CSU.
In the Bundestag, she is a full member of the Committee on Food and Agriculture and Deputy Member of the Tourism Committee (2013).
Marlene Mortler has always been elected as a directly elected representatives of the Roth constituency in the Bundestag. In the 2005, federal election she received 51.0% of the votes.
Mortler in the Bundestag is also a member of the European Union Parliamentarians German Bundestag.
Marlene Mortler was 1982–2004 chairman of the rural women in the district Nürnberger Land and belonged from 1992 to 2012 as a district of the farmer Farmers Union Central Franconia and second deputy country farmer to the Bureau of the Bavarian Farmers Association (until 1997) on. From 1997 to 2012, she was the first deputy country farmer.
In addition, Mortler is an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the Promotion Fund of agriculture; until March 2013 she was a member of the Media Council of the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting and the end of 2012 a member of the agricultural advisory board of the Bavarian insurance chamber.
In her role as a drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler is exposed diverse criticism. As an expert in agriculture she is said to be unqualified for the position and her use of alcohol is said to show a certain double standard in terms of dealing with legal and illicit drugs.
The German Cancer Aid has responded with praise to Mortler's initiative to ban tobacco advertising in Germany. Her initiative failed and nothing happened in this issue until April 2015. By 2014 they wanted to "hold intensive discussions in the federal government", she said in a Die ZEIT article.
Early 2015 she came under heavy criticism which mostly arose from social media. Under the Twitter-Hashtag #Mortler and on Facebook many concerned individuals and organizations voiced their discontent with the commissioner. A petition which called for her resignation garnered over 14.000 votes within a few days. She was criticized for incompetence, an inappropriate qualification in "rural home economics" (German: Meisterin der Ländlichen Hauswirtschaft) for the job, having a double standard (because of her promotion of alcohol consumption) and a preoccupation concerning suggestions about cannabis legalization. A main point of criticism are her justifications for the illegality of cannabis in contrast to the legality of alcohol - in interviews she stated that (translated) "in contrast to Cannabis alcohol is part of our culture" and "Because Cannabis is an illegal drug. Full stop." In consequence to the criticism she closed her Facebook account.