Puerto Rico: Senate approves labor protection measure for medical cannabis patients

The legislation seeks to prohibit retaliation for the positive result of a doping test for which the employee or candidate for employment has a medical prescription or legal authorization.

The Senate of Puerto Rico approved today with amendments Senate Bill 191, filed by the independent senator, José Vargas Vidot and the president of the Senate, José Luis Dalmau Santiago.

The measure seeks to prohibit retaliation against employees or candidates for employment for the positive result of a test for the detection of controlled substances for which the person has a medical prescription or legal authorization.

According to the legislative piece, in 2017, the “Law to Manage the Study, Development and Research of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Standards and Limits” was signed. Thus, the Government of Puerto Rico provided the first legislative framework to regulate and allow the use of medicinal cannabis. However, this law left a vacuum in worker-employer relations at the time that medical cannabis patients are required to test for controlled substances, whether they are employees or candidates for employment.

“Despite the authorization of the use of medical cannabis, there is legal hypocrisy. That alleged State endorsement did not come with clear and adequate measures to protect employees who use medical cannabis from retaliation and disciplinary action -in law- to treat multiple conditions. Unfortunately, a demonizing, punitive and humiliating vision of medical cannabis continues in many spaces that actually serves as an alternative treatment for a multiplicity of conditions. And that must be finished, ”Senator Vargas Vidot said in a press release.

In order to reconcile the errors of the authorization of medicinal cannabis in 2017, in the past four years, Senate Bill 878 was filed. However, the measure did not become law. Due to this, currently employees and candidates for jobs continue to be deprived of labor protections for the use of medical cannabis in law.

Source:  https://www.noticel.com/ahora/legislatura/20210624/senado-aprueba-medida-de-protecciones-laborales-a-pacientes-de-cannabis-medicinal/?mc_cid=d55c51fd48&mc_eid=ffca6542f9

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