Marijuana Breathalyzer in the Works to Identify Stoned Drivers

Stoners take note, police may soon have a tool to tell whether you’re driving under the influence of marijuana.

Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breathalyzer that will detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, the News Tribune reports. WSU chemistry professor Herbert Hill and a doctoral student are working on a handheld device similar to the ones used by police to tell whether a person is under the influence of alcohol.

While driving while stoned is against the law in all four states—Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon—where marijuana has been made legal for recreational use, as well in those where the drug has been given the green light for medical use, police have had to rely on blood tests and traditional standardized field sobriety tests such as walking a straight line. A 2012 study found that just 30 percent of those under the influence of THC failed the standard sobriety tests, and the results of blood tests can take up to twenty-four hours.

The THC breathalyzer will, researchers hope, give police a more immediate way to detect the presence of the drug.

“We believe at least initially that it would lower the false positives that an officer would have,” Hill told the News Tribune. “They would have a higher level of confidence in making an arrest.”

– Read the entire article at Bloomberg.