New tool detects drivers under influence of marijuana

Posted at 8:13 PM, Sep 13, 2016

Medical marijuana is legal in Maryland and several states have now legalized pot in some form, meaning more people could be driving high.

Police officers are looking for a fool proof way to detect high drivers. Marijuana stays in your system for a while, so if you get pulled over and take a blood or saliva test, it could still show up positive even if you used it days ago. 

The makers of the marijuana breathalyzer say it could potentially solve that problem.

Officers in Colorado are currently using devices that  determine how much THC is in a driver's blood from marijuana based on a saliva swab, but one company says it's developed a way to test a driver's breath. 

Hound Labs co-founder Mike Lynn says the machine is the first to be tested by law enforcement roadside and can detect THC in a person's breath whether they smoked or ate marijuana. 

"In breath THC only stays for a really brief period of time," Lynn said. "And so unlike saliva or blood or urine where what you did last weekend will still show up in that in breath it just doesn't. It only shows up for a few hours."

The tool would help law enforcement better determine if a driver is really impaired from recent use. 

"If you're the cop you have no idea if your saliva test is positive okay its positive but so what it doesn't tell you when the person last used marijuana," Lynn said. "So there's no way to actually correlate that with driver impairment."

With more states legalizing marijuana, Lynn hopes this device will make roads safer by getting impaired drivers off the roads. The company says it will still do more testing with law enforcement and the lab to make the data perfect. 

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