Police now have access to a marijuana breathalyzer, and they recently put it to the test on California drivers. The device created by Hound Labs can tell if you’ve had marijuana or marijuana-infused edibles recently. Hound Labs will be moving forward with plans to “widely distribute its technology to law enforcement in the first half of next year,” says CEO Mike Lynn. With that being said, it just got a lot harder to pass a sobriety test while stoned.
Will the Marijuana Breathalyzer Work?
This new device comes with positives and negatives for consumers of marijuana. One negative is that it’s not 100% accurate, it still relies on a trained officer’s observation to justify arrests. One positive is that alleged pot users will no longer need to be detained and subjected to blood tests. The new handheld device by Hound Labs should save both officers and drivers vast amounts of time.
How The Marijuana Breathalyzer Took Flight
The CEO of Hound Labs, Mike Lynn is also an emergency room doctor in Oakland, California and a reserve officer with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. He assisted in pulling over the drivers that would be tested with his companies device. It’s worth noting that these officers decided not to arrest anyone for driving under the influence of marijuana, they just made them hitch rides home.
“Everyone agreed because they were curious,” Lynn said. “The objective was not to put people in jail but to educate them and use the device if they volunteered so we could get the data.”
Coolest cops ever? We think so. Drivers were surprisingly open about their recent marijuana usage. Officers pulled over drivers who were driving erratically or had committed a traffic infraction, Lynn says. The only arrest made during the field test was a drunk driver.
Two drivers admitted to smoking marijuana within the past 30 minutes. The breathalyzer confirmed this when these two drivers had much higher readouts than the others tested. Those who claimed to have smoked within the past two or three hours came up positive for recent marijuana usage on the breathalyzer.
No one came up positive for marijuana edibles, but Lynn assures us that medical marijuana users who ate gummy bears and brownies also came up positive on his companies breath test.
How Long Will You Test Positive For?
With current technology, sober drivers can still face arrest for cannabis that was smoked a week prior. Lynn claims pot smoked from the day prior won’t appear on the breathalyzer test. The test can trace THC in your breath within 2-6 hours after marijuana was consumed.
“With a breath, it doesn’t matter if you smoke every day, if you haven’t smoked in several hours we are not going to pick it up, and it correlates with when people are most impaired,” Lynn says. “You get the inadvertent and unfair arrest of individuals who test positive and aren’t impaired. What we’re trying to do is balance public safety with fairness.”
Final Hit: Marijuana Breathalyzer
This device may end the days of daily pot smokers coming up positive for marijuana they smoked way before they ever got behind the wheel of a car. A drug-detecting fingerprint scanner may soon become accessible to law enforcement as well. With these new technologies arising there’s, even more, an incentive for marijuana users to refrain from getting high before driving. Hopefully, this technology causes the number of stoned driving fatalities to decrease.