The first handheld marijuana breathalyzer has been successfully field tested creating an enormous breakthrough in marijuana road laws. Up until now, law enforcement have depended on very unreliable processes for finding out if drivers are under the influence of marijuana while driving. Using saliva, urine and blood tests to determine whether a person is driving high or not becomes problematic due to the fact that THC can stay in the system for days and even weeks. This has led to unjust arrests and problems in general when it comes to road safety for law enforcement. The new device will offer a powerful solution to these concerns.
How the Marijuana Breathalyzer Works
Hound Labs, Inc. have been working on their marijuana breathalyzer in partnership with scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. The Oakland based company became the first to create a proprietary scientific way to measure THC in breath and evaluate it using parts per trillion (picograms). Through the breath, the device is able to evaluate THC levels consumed in the last few hours only. This means the device can measure if someone has smoked or consumed edibles within the last few hours unlike other methods of testing that detect THC consumed long after the high has worn off.
A Successful Series of Tests
The roadside tests were conducted by law enforcement to detect if drivers were driving under the influence. If a driver was suspected of being high they were asked to perform in field sobriety tests. If they performed badly in those tests they were asked to voluntarily blow into the device so that a chemical analysis could be done. Impaired drivers were not arrested. Instead, they were escorted home. The first field tests of the marijuana breathalyzer were highly successful, with results proving to be very accurate. The only modifications needed seem to be in the design aspects of the handheld device’s durability.
“Exactly the Tool That We Need”
“The Hound™ marijuana breathalyzer is exactly the tool that we need to address the existing issue of marijuana-impaired driving on our roads,” stated Patrick Walsh, Chief of Police in Lompoc, California. The Chief talked about how law enforcement departments from all over the state are “clamoring for a device that can easily be used with existing protocols, while providing objective measurements on recent marijuana use.” He says “we are looking for the least invasive way to obtain information that indicates impairment, which is why we are participating in roadside tests. We don’t want to arrest people who are not impaired, and yet we don’t want marijuana users driving if they are high from recent use.”
Hound Labs will continue to work on the device, conducting more field tests, clinical trials and gathering more data. They aim to have the final product completed by the end of 2017. The breathalyzer will be priced in the same range as alcohol breathalyzers, which typically run at under $1,000. The initiation of the breathalyzer is expected to prevent wrongful arrests and go towards supporting a future that has safer roads as marijuana continues to be legalized across the country. This is the intention of Hound Labs as they work towards making the most accurate device for testing THC levels in recent marijuana use.