A company based in California has developed the first breathalyzer type product for detecting marijuana drug use. The company, Hound Labs, is based in Oakland and has been developing this product for some time now. The product aims to aid police officers when they suspect DUI’s during traffic stops.
Mike Lynn, the CEO of Hound Labs, issued the following quotes in an interview with NPR radio:
“We are trying to make the establishment of impairment around marijuana rational and to balance fairness and safety.”
“This is a disposable cartridge. And there’s a whole bunch of science in this cartridge.”
“When you find THC in breath, you can be pretty darn sure that somebody smoked pot in the last couple of hours and we don’t want to have people driving during that time period or, frankly, at a work site in a construction zone.”
To produce an accurate reading, the user must blow into the device for about 30 seconds. The device will indicate whether the participant has smoked weed within the past 2 hours which, according to NPR, is “the peak impairment time frame”.
Legally, there is a debate about what constitutes impairment. So far, 7 states have defined how much THC can be in a person’s system to legally drive, including Montana and Washington. In other states, the debate continues.
Former director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Taylor West, issued the following statement:
“Unlike alcohol, THC can remain detectable in the bloodstream for days or weeks, when any impairment wears off in a matter of hours. So, all those numbers really tell us is that, since legal adult-use sales began, a larger number of people are consuming cannabis and then, at some point … [are] driving a car.”
Throughout the past several decades, the amount of crashes involving high drivers has steadily increased. This will likely continue during the decriminalization of marijuana.
Police departments around the country have made it a mission to stop high drivers. “It’s going to be a major issue in our city as more and more motorists drive after the legalization of recreational pot,” said William Evans, Boston’s Police Commissioner. Pot was legalized in Massachusetts back in November of 2016.
The device developed by Hound Labs certainly has incited the high driver debate.