One for the road: Breakthrough claimed with pot-booze breathalyzer

Wed Dec 2, 2015 8:07am EST
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By Natalie Grover

Dec 2 (Reuters) - An Oakland company working with scientists from the University of California at Berkeley is claiming a breakthrough in the race to develop an instant roadside marijuana breathalyzer.

Hound Labs Inc, whose device is also uniquely designed to double up as an alcohol breathalyzer, is among a handful of companies and researchers hoping to capitalize on increasingly relaxed marijuana laws in the United States.

Hound Labs said on Wednesday it had found an accurate way to measure THC - the psychoactive component in cannabis - within one or two blows. The portable device is designed to help determine if a driver is impaired from recent marijuana use.

The idea is to replace a complicated assortment of costly blood and urine tests that can take days to get a result and cannot distinguish between recent and chronic use.

While 23 states have eased access to marijuana for medical use and four, plus Washington, D.C., allow recreational use, cannabis remains prohibited under federal law.

New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also promised to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said earlier this year that while cannabis impairs psychomotor skills and cognitive function, not enough is known about how much is needed to affect driving performance.

But some states are not waiting to reach a consensus on how much THC is too much to drive.   Continued...