Some U.S. police officers have started using a marijuana breathalyzer to detect impaired drivers. The manufacturer claims that the machine can detect recently ingested marijuana-infused edibles. Over the next six months, Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn, expects to have the devices distributed to enforcement agencies across the country.
Lynn is both an emergency room doctor and reserve police officer with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in Oakland, California, according to U.S. News. Of those voluntarily tested with the breathalyzer, two people admitted to using marijuana within 30 minutes of the test. Their results showed much higher THC levels than others that were tested.
There were a few people that said they consumed marijuana two to three hours before being tested. Those participants also tested higher as the device is designed to detect marijuana within two to three hours of use.
Lynn said, “Basically everyone agreed because they were curious. We were not trying to arrest people… Sure, we could arrest people and people are arrested every day for driving stoned, but 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.”
Both laboratory and field testing will work together to determine a person’s THC intoxication level. The field test would be similar to an obstacle course, as it has been compared to. Law enforcement agencies will be assisting in collecting data that validates this testing process. The Lompoc, California police department is participating in this testing phase.
When the device is ready for full distribution, disposable cartridges will be made. The cartridges will be filled with chemical that tag THC molecules, making them readable. Alcohol breathalyzer components will also be incorporated into the device.