Marijuana Breathalyzer Prototype to be Field Tested This Fall

With the number of states legalizing marijuana on the rise, authorities are now faced with a new problem – how to tell when drivers are above the legal limit while behind the wheel. Marijuana differs from alcohol, in that officers can simply perform breathalyzer tests to find out what driver's BAC level is. Marijuana, however, cannot be quickly tested. Blood samples can give officers an indication of THC levels, but toxicology labs can often take weeks to deliver the results.

Testing the Device

Washington State University professor Herb Hill along with graduate student Jessica Tufariello were able to create a marijuana breathalyzer that detects THC levels by using a technique referred to as differential mobility spectrometry (DMS). Due to federal restrictions, both Hill and Tufariello had difficulties testing out the marijuana breathalyzer, but they came up with a system that had just a few exceptions – any testing had to be done away from the WSU campus, subjects could only be paid for their time, and the researchers were not to supply the subjects with the marijuana.

Cherming Group, the company responsible for funding the research, sent Hill and Tufariello equipment to further help with their research. One of the pieces of equipment sent was a device shaped similarly to a glue gun that can be used to capture a person’s breath. When tested, researchers found that the device accurately detected THC 89 percent of the time. Although there are still several tests to be done to secure the validity and reliability of the device, Cherming Group hopes that there will be a marijuana breathalyzer prototype available for officers to field test in the fall.

Secure Counsel From a Proven Professional

Although recreational marijuana is legalized in the state of Washington, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence. If you’ve been pulled over and arrested for a marijuana DUI offense, you should call the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC to secure the representation you need. You don’t have to accept a guilty plea. When you come to my firm, you can trust that your rights will be protected.

To speak to a Snohomish County DUI lawyer, call (888) 252-1961 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

Categories: