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THC Breathalyzers Could Be On The Market Soon

Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana in his state earlier this week, stating that he wanted to see a method for law enforcement to detect drivers who are high on the road. Unfortunately for the Governor, no such technology yet exists-but there are plenty of companies out there trying to make it a reality.

Currently, hair, blood and urine tests can detect marijuana in one’s system, but these methods cannot tell whether a person is stoned at any one particular time-such as during a traffic stop.

Hound Labs and Cannabix Technologies are racing to develop the first marijuana impairment testing mechanism for law enforcement. Both companies are working to perfect handheld devices that involve a tube the driver blows into, functioning much like an alcohol-detecting breathalyzer.

The device from Hound Labs is being designed with the intention of being able to detect both marijuana and alcohol, and has received funding to the tune of $8.1 million from the venture company Benchmark-which funded Uber and Tinder in the past. The startup company has started clinical trials at the University of California, San Francisco, and claim to have seen positive results so far-even a release date for their product on the horizon.

CEO Dr. Michael Lynn stated “We tested on so many people now that we’re quite confident,” during an interview with CNNMoney. His company’s product is expected to hit the market by the end of the year. The device will not only be sold to law enforcement agents, but also employers-who might want to make sure that their employees aren’t smoking up right before involved tasks like driving.

Cannabix Technologies of Canada is working on development of a similar product that detects THC molecules in your breath. The scientists who advise the company are confident that it is a quality, functioning product.

Unlike alcohol breathalyzers, these two devices do not indicate a numeric value for the presence of THC detected. It simply gives a “Yes” or a “No” result.

Until this technology is readily available to law enforcement entities, some are conducting roadside cheek-swab tests to run checks for THC in a person’s saliva. However, this method of testing is considered quite unreliable by many professionals.

Photo by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

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