Marijuana breathalyzer being developed to determine drivers’ sobriety sans blood test

Posted on 12-17-2014 by
Tags: Trending News & Topics , Drug Law Evolution & The Workplace

If drinking and driving is against the law then it would make sense that the same would apply after smoking pot. While medical and recreational marijuana use is legal in 4 states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington), users cannot drive if they have more than 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood. While it’s good to have this rule, it remains somewhat useless as there is no way to test others for THC, at least not yet.

In an article by Mashable, roads could become even safer and prevent pot-smokers from driving under the influence. Researchers at Washington State University are working on a handheld breathalyzer that could detect if a driver tests positive for marijuana use.

Chemistry professor Herbert Hill, and doctoral student Jessica Tufariello have been working on developing a tool that would give police an immediate way to detect whether THC is present in the driver's blood stream. For now, it will only tell whether or not the participant has THC present, not how much they have in their system. According to the Seattle Times, out of all stopped drivers in Washington state in 2013, about 25 percent of blood samples that were taken tested positive for pot.

While there hasn’t been a significant increase in car accidents, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website reminds people that "getting high and getting behind the wheel of a car will get you arrested for a DUI — this law hasn’t changed with the legalization of marijuana in January 2014."

The site continues, explaining that "Marijuana affects reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, concentration and perception of time and distance."

This isn’t the first Breathalyzer of this kind. Earlier this month a breathalyzer named Cannabix, was revealed at the National Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas. Its’ availability will come in stages as it will be available first to law enforcement and businesses before becoming available to customers. This is schedule to hit the market next year.

The name and release date of Washington State’s Breathalyzer are currently unknown.

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