Smoking and Riding is about to get a whole lot harder for Bay Area residents, as police now have the ability to detect marijuana impairment using Pot Breathalyzers–often with frightening accuracy.
Oakland-based company Hound Labs, working in conjunction with scientists from UC Berkeley developed the method to detect marijuana in a person’s system– through the use of a hand-held breathalyzer.
The Pot breathalyzer will likely be making its first appearances on Bay Area roads and eventually across the country within weeks (if they’re not out already), so be careful all you hotboxers out there!
Dr. Mike Lynn, the company’s CEO, says if THC appears in someone’s breath that means they’ve smoked within the past couple of hours and more than likely impaired. I know I most certainly am.
Before Wednesday’s announcement, it was next to impossible to detect the presence of (and percentage of) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis) in an individual’s breath.
And as many of you know the drug tests you took for work (and probably failed) could only test for the presence of marijuana in the system, not if you were zooted at the time or not.
However, there is a silver lining for drivers who can keep their highness under control (besides obviously not getting pulled over by the police.). At the time of this writing, there is currently no consistent legal limit for the level of THC for drivers.
“Right now the standards are completely arbitrary. I would argue that they are useless,” Hound Labs Chief Executive Mike Lynn told Reuters.
“Our ability to measure THC in breath really should shift the national dialogue from one about simply detecting if THC is in someone’s body to a conversation where standards can be developed that reflect actual impairment,” says Lynn.
If you want to purchase your own Pot breathalyzer to play pranks with on your friends they will set you back $1000. Just kidding. These particular breathalyzers aren’t available to the public–yet.
Meantime, clinical trials will begin in partnership with the University of California, the city of San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital. The third and final version of its breathalyzer is slated to go on the public market the second half of 2018.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.