Marijuana breathalyzers are expected be on the streets as early as 2020, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Similar to the devices law enforcement officers use to determine whether a driver is operating under the influence of alcohol, the forthcoming marijuana breathalyzers will be used to identify drivers who have recently smoked weed.
Various firms have plans to release the devices, including the Oakland-based Hound Labs, which reportedly expects to have a device ready by the second half of 2020.
Identifying drivers operating under the influence of marijuana has historically been problematic for law enforcement, as it can be difficult to establish exactly when the drug was consumed. The new breathalyzers in development at Hound Labs will reportedly resolve this issue by only detecting weed within three hours of consumption, which the device’s developers have identified as the window in which drivers are most impaired by the drug.
Currently, drivers suspected of operating under the influence of marijuana typically undergo a blood test at a hospital in order to determine whether the drug is in their system, which can be costly and inefficient. The marijuana breathalyzers seek to provide an advancement in cost and time efficiency.
Developers working on weed breathalyzers also hope to see the devices used in workplace drug tests. Currently, employers typically use urine tests, which can show traces of marijuana for as long as a month post-consumption. The breathalyzers will make it easier for employers to perform timely drug tests without unjustly punishing an employee for previous drug use.
“I actually do see it as benefiting all parties,” said Noah Debrincat, a nanotechnology engineer from the University of Waterloo in Canada who is working on a marijuana breathalyzer with the Canadian firm SannTek.
Beneficial or not, marijuana breathalyzers may be coming soon to streets and employers near you.
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