DUI breath tests that determine whether someone is under the influence of alcohol have long been a fixture in California DUI law enforcement. But for a long time police have had to rely on more invasive blood or urine tests to determine whether someone was driving under the influence of drugs.
That may not be the case for much longer, though. An Oakland-based company recently worked with law enforcement to test a "breathalyzer" for marijuana--that is, a breath-testing device that can determine whether someone is driving under the influence of marijuana.
Hound Labs in Oakland claims that its "marijuana breathalyzer" can detect marijuana from both smoked and edible sources. The company worked with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department to field-test the pot breathalyzer recently.
Apparently the breathalyzer accurately determined whether drivers who blew in the device voluntarily--and were not arrested even for positive results--had smoked pot within the last several hours. The company's founder stated that he hopes to put the pot breathalyzer into use by police departments over the next six months.
The need for a device that can quickly and reliably determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana may grow more urgent soon. Recent polls show strong support among California voters for Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state. Prop 64 will be voted on this November.
In addition to Hound Labs, other companies are working on their own versions of a marijuana breath test. And some companies are even trying to develop roadside saliva tests and fingerprint-sweat tests that can detect drivers under the influence of marijuana.