• Attorneys & Counselors

P.R. House of Representatives Bill 1197

Updated: Feb 3

On August 21, 2017, representatives Jesus Manuel Ortiz Gonzalez and Antonio L. Soto Torres introduced H.R.1197 to add a new Article and renumber various articles of Act No. 42-2017, known as Act to Manage the Study, Development and Investigation of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Rules and Limits. This bill held its second public hearing on May 8, 2018.

Act No. 42-2017 created a legal framework to attend the development and study of medicinal cannabis and established the permitted medicinal and scientific investigations, amongst others, in accordance with federal laws. Nonetheless, because marihuana is still considered an illegal substance under the federal system, the employees that use it for medical purposes will not be protected by laws such as the American with Disabilities Act. Therefore, the inclusion of Article no. 24 to Act No. 42-2017, intends to protect employees that are authorized to use medicinal cannabis against discriminatory acts from their employers.

The proposed new Article establishes that registered employee-patients for the use of medicinal cannabis will be considered as a protected category for purposes of all employment protection laws. If enacted, employers will not be allowed to discriminate against any employee that is authorized and registered to use medicinal cannabis during recruitment, hiring, appointment, termination or during the imposition of any employment penalty.

However, the above mentioned protections would not benefit the employee-patient if: (1) the employer can establish, with preponderance of evidence, that the use of medicinal cannabis represents a real treat of harm or danger to other people or property, or that it interferes with the employee-patient essential job functions; or (2) that the employee-patient job performance under the effects of the medicinal cannabis exposes the employer to the cancelation or loss of a license, permit or certification related to federal laws or regulations; or (3) if the employee-patient uses or possesses medicinal cannabis in the workplace or during working hours without the employer’s written authorization.

The protection introduced by this new Article is intended to be interpreted liberally in favor of the employee-patient.

If you have any questions concerning H.R. 1197 or its impact to your company, feel free to contact us at your convenience at (787) 765-5656.