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Marijuana Breathalyzer Coming In 2020

We’ve discussed the dangers of driving under the influence many times before in our blogs. And one other consideration that we’ve also touched upon, is operating a vehicle while stoned. There are still plenty of risks associated with using marijuana (despite its recent decriminalization) and law enforcement organizations throughout the country plan to crack down even further on that practice within the next year.

Starting in 2020, new marijuana breathalyzers are expected to hit the market and will be utilized to enforce DUIs. Hound Labs, a hardware company in northern California, has been tasked with building the device, which is implementing some interesting technology.

One argument that has been put forth for those who test positive for marijuana intoxication is that timespans are never quite accurate. THC, the prominent psychoactive constituent of cannabis, is reported to linger in the body for up to 30 days. With this in mind, many can fight back against the charges; saying their usage is not recent. This new tool, however, will be able to distinguish when the THC was consumed, allowing for more clear cut convictions.

Oakland Sheriff’s Department rep Mike Lynn spoke to the press about the potential of these new breathalyzers for law enforcement.

“We want to be able to detect THC in people who have recently used it—either eaten the stuff or smoked a joint,” Lynn explained. “Those are the people we want to discourage before they go to the workplace or get behind the wheel. DUI under marijuana is a huge, huge problem. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been nervous about legalization. If this breathalyzer technology is out there, it would be a great tool. It would alleviate some of our fears.”

The device will also relieve those who use marijuana legally. If they consumed it in a safe environment several weeks back, then they won’t be at risk for receiving an improper DUI.

Though California has not officially confirmed that they are embracing Hound Labs’ technology, the device will be fully available by early next year. It works to detect both marijuana and alcohol intoxication, clearly outlined in a measuring scale. It also is compact and hand-held, retailing for about $5,000.

If you ask us, this does seem like a very useful product to roll out nationwide. Not only will it accurately detect impaired marijuana drivers, it will send a strong message discouraging more people to use behind the wheel.