New Breathalyser Shows How Stoned You Are
A new breathalyser has been invented that tests for marijuana and it's being called a 'game changer' by experts.
The new device is a billion times more sensitive than ones that check for alcohol levels and have been welcomed by authorities in the states. Since marijuana is starting to be legalised recreationally, concerns have been raised about the risk of an increase in car accidents.
But the new devices mean that it could be more likely to be legalised more widely after the tests from Hound Labs and Sanntek can tell when someone's recently had THC - the main ingredient that affects you in cannabis.
Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christopher Leusner, head of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, said: "With alcohol, if you have over 0.08% in your blood, there's the presumption that you're intoxicated.
"There hasn't been a blood test or a breath test that can determine if you're impaired by marijuana."
The new tests were developed at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco, with the help of Mike Lynn, an experienced A&E physician from Oakland, and is also a reserve deputy sheriff.
Blood tests can show up marijuana from up to a month ago but the new tests can tell if someone has smoked or had an edible in the last few hours jsut from their breath - which will mean it's likely they could be used for roadside testing.
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Lynn said: "It's about creating a balance of public safety and fairness.
"I've seen the tragedies resulting from impaired driving up close. And I have a good idea how challenging it is at the roadside to know whether someone smoked pot recently. But I believe if someone is not stoned, they shouldn't be arrested."
The devices can detect even very low amounts of THC - and are much more sensitive than normal alcohol tests.
The team has spent five years developing the device so that it can tell the difference between recent consumption and weeks old. It's also now affordable for police and employers - the actual device is $5,000 and the single-use cartridges are $20 each.
Lynn added: "Employers have the same fundamental problems as law enforcement. They need to maintain a safe workplace, but not have to worry about what their employees do in their free time. Someone can go home, smoke pot just like I'd enjoy a glass of wine, and not test positive.
"Employers are facing a workforce now that has close to full employment. They don't want to be firing valuable workers, especially for something that's legal in most states."
The devices are expected to go into use next year.
Featured Image Credit: Hound Labs
Topics: US News