Since drug tests take time, and because just smelling someone's breath probably isn't very accurate, scientists have developed a new device that can reportedly determine if you've been smoking marijuana -- right on the spot.
As reported by CBS News, the breathalyzer will allow police to quickly and easily test drivers during traffic stops, and even doubles as an alcohol breathalyzer. Created by California-based Hound Labs Inc., the device detects and measures the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive stuff that leads to a high, in a person's body. Unlike drug tests using urine, blood, or saliva samples, the breathalyzer can help determine "real-time impairment" because they don't require having to wait for lab results, Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs, told CBS.
Police in the San Francisco Bay Area will begin testing the handheld breathalyzer as early as next year and sales could begin before the end of 2016, but it's unclear if and when law enforcement agencies across the country will start using it, too. Researchers from Washington State University are also developing a marijuana breathalyzer. However, the use of such devices will likely require standards for marijuana impairment, which Lynn said are currently sketchy.
Ultimately, Lynn hopes the breathalyzer will keep people from getting behind the wheel under the influence, which can save lives. Oh, and it'll probably be pretty popular among ultra-restrictive parents.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and really wonders how this is going to play out. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.