Hound Labs in Oakland has designed a breathalyzer that can detect recent THC consumption.
With recreational sales of marijuana starting next month, many in California are worried about the potential for an uptick in buzzed driving. So far, there has not been any reliable way to adequately test marijuana sobriety like there is for alcohol. Blood tests are not as practical and can detect the presence of THC long after its effects have passed. Simply smelling marijuana is also not precise as someone could just be carrying it before use.
But law enforcement could soon be using a new device to measure recent THC consumption.
Hound Labs has developed a breathalyzer that can measure THC in parts per trillion on an individual’s breath. THC is an active compound in marijuana that is known to cause psychedelic effects.
“It’s a huge technological and scientific challenge that we had to overcome,” Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn said according to NBC. “It took us a few years to overcome but we figured it out and we can measure just a few particles of THC, so it’d be like measuring a few drops of water in a hundred swimming pools put together.”
In addition to being CEO of Hound Labs, Lynn works as an emergency room physician and also as a reserve deputy sheriff. These experiences helped him conceive of his idea for a reliable THC breathalyzer.
The 3rd and final version of the device is currently being tested. The breathalyzer is expected to cost anywhere from $500-$1000. Lynn says that law enforcement agencies and employers are calling him every day inquiring about the new breathalyzer.