Companies are racing to get cannabis breathalyzers ready for the streets by next year
Hound Labs in California says their device will be able to detect impairment for up to three hours after someone smokes weed
By Kieran Delamont
A working weed breathalyzer is something of a white whale for law enforcement and the weed industry. Both want to see a device that can accurately measure impairment at the roadside. Weed companies want it so they can appear to be working with the cops, and the cops want it because… well, they’re cops.
There are two companies racing one another to get this device on the market by next year – SannTek in Canada and Hound Labs in California. The latter says they will be ready with a device by the middle of 2020.
Hound Labs says their device will be able to detect impairment for up to three hours after someone smokes weed. After that, things get a little murkier. Even that three-hour window seems somewhat arbitrary, since the amount of THC required to cause impairment, according to the company, is a billion times smaller than for alcohol.
“It’s like looking for 25 grains of sand on a beach a mile long,” Mike Lynn, founder of Hound Labs, tells the Fresno Bee.
Medical cannabis users, meanwhile, find this whole thing to be troubling, to say the least. Plenty of people need cannabis just to function every day. And many medical patients have been asking for exemptions to cover this reality in court challenges already filed in Canada against roadside tests.