Well #Roommates, marijuana may have made considerable strides towards legalization within the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that usage of it doesn’t come without consequences. If everything goes according to plan, marijuana breath tests could be a reality very soon.
We’re all familiar with breathalyzer tests to determine your blood alcohol level—but you might have to prepare yourself for the marijuana equivalent. As reported by @newsweek, roadside breath tests that are able to detect whether drivers have used marijuana in the past three hours may be available by next year. Firms, including Oakland, California’s Hound Labs and Canada’s SannTek are hoping to have the marijuana breathalyzers in the latter half of 2020.
One of the co-founders of Hound Labs, Mike Lynn, said that the test from his company’s product will be able to determine if someone has used marijuana within the crucial three-hour window, when the strongest effects of the drug can be felt and driving is most impaired. However, Lynn admitted that detecting for marijuana through breath tests is much more difficult than testing for alcohol, even going so far as to describe the process as “amazingly challenging.” The tests will look for evidence of tetrahidrocannabinol (THC) in the body, the substance that is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
This is largely due to the quantity of the psychoactive compound in the body being relatively small, hundreds of millions of times lower than the amount of alcohol flowing through the body of someone who is heavily intoxicated. The developers of the forthcoming marijuana breath tests say their products will fill a gap in the market as marijuana is increasingly legalized for medicinal and recreational use across the country.
The breath test could also help out law enforcement officials considerably, as current police officers must go through a time-consuming, expensive process to determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana. They generally rely on Drug Recognition Officers (DROs) who are specially trained to spot the types of impairment caused by different drugs.
If a DRO suspects that a motorist is under the influence of marijuana, the driver is taken to hospital for blood tests, which identify if the drug is in their system. This leads to significant amounts of time in court, where DROs provide expert testimony.
On the other hand, the new tests will potentially streamline the process, cutting down costs and time significantly. This will also help convict those who have driven under the influence of marijuana and assist defense attorneys in proving their clients were innocent in cases where the suspect hadn’t used the drug before driving.
Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published the results of a survey which revealed that nearly 15 million Americans had driven a vehicle within an hour of smoking marijuana or using cannabis products within 30 days prior to the survey.
Roommates, what are your thoughts on this?