Will a Pot Breathalyzer Really Work?


As more and more states continue to enact laws authorizing recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, law enforcement officials continue to struggle with drivers who are under the influence of marijuana and who risk endangering others. Over 30 states have passed some form of medical marijuana laws and nine states have passed laws authorizing some level of recreational marijuana usage. Since there are no roadside tests available to measure marijuana impairment, police typically must rely on field sobriety tests and simple observations that often may miss the mark.

Hound Labs, a California company, recently has created a “pot breathalyzer.” The handheld device, which is about the size of a large mobile phone, uses a disposable cartridge containing a small plastic tube into which drivers blow for 30 seconds. The machine detects any level of THC, which is the psychoactive component in pot that gets you high. The design of the machine enables it to determine whether individuals have smoked any amount of marijuana in the last two hours.


photo depicting clinical tests trzezewosci state driver by a policeman

This device then is plugged into a base station that is about the size of a laptop, which protects from extremely cold or hot temperatures. This is necessary to maintain consistent results. As a bonus, the device also acts as an alcohol breathalyzer. The device produces results within four minutes.

The device cannot tell, however, the amount of THC that the individual has ingested; it simply measures whether there is any presence of THC in an individual’s breath, based on molecules in parts per trillion. Plus, no one has come to a consensus as to what level of THC is necessary for an individual to be impaired, and studies have been relatively inconclusive.

For example, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study showed that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in accidents. However, marijuana users also are more likely to be young men, and young men are more likely to be involved in accidents.

If you find yourself charged with marijuana possession or any other type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek Law Group provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for adults who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights.  Call us at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.

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