Cannabis Breathalyzer May Make Roads Safer, Raises Concerns

Cannabis being legalized at an incredible rate in America comes as a surprise to very few. A majority of the American people support cannabis legalization and 30 U.S. states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. While cannabis legalization has been largely successful in nearly all states where it has been legalized, there are concerns being raised over things like youth access to cannabis, taxation, and most importantly, cases of impaired driving.

The most difficult aspect of managing impaired driving cases in cannabis-legal states is how to determine whether or not a driver is actually impaired. One company, Hound Lab, has created a cannabis breathalyzer that they say can detect any THC present in a driver’s breath.

Does It Actually Work?

Though the company suggests that, “The Hound breathalyzer is 1 billion times more sensitive than today’s alcohol breathalyzers,” there is some confusion as to whether or not the product would unfairly consider someone “impaired” when they are not.

Though the product will not be able to determine just how much cannabis is in one’s system, it will be able to discern whether or not a driver had smoked recently. According to Hound Lab, THC only stays in the breath for one to two hours after cannabis consumption and after three hours, THC levels in the breath drop to zero. Minutes after someone breathes into the Hound Lab cannabis breathalyzer, the device will determine if that person is under the influence of THC, alcohol, both, or neither.

Protecting the Cannabis Consumer

The goal of the Hound Lab breathalyzer is not to imprison cannabis consumers unjustly, it is to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers. Marketing manager of Hound Lab, Louisa Ashford said that the Hound Lab breathalyzer “will help ensure safety on our roads and in the workplace while also promoting fairness to people who use marijuana legally and responsibly.”

Hound Lab is likely the first of many to attempt to create a way to accurately judge roadside cannabis impairment, but it believes it can be the best. Though the product has not been used on the roads yet, it is set to see a roll out in certain cities this fall.

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