Could you be prosecuted for a DUI even if you have no alcohol in your system? If you’re using marijuana, even legally with medically prescribed marijuana, and you get behind the wheel you might. This was the case in this Arizona ruling for a “Pot DUI”. Soon, there may be a pot test just like there are currently breathalyzers for alcohol.
There’s currently a breathalyzer being developed by researchers at Washington State University that will test drivers for having marijuana in their system. While four states currently allow the use of mariuana as a recreational drug and many others allow the medical use of it, there’s a limit to how much one can have in their system and still legally get behind the wheel. The limit is five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
Is there a way to tell how much THC is in the blood right now? Yes. But it normally involves a blood test and that can take a whole day to get the results. This new tool will allow law enforcement officers to test drivers and get results on the scene, just as they can do for alcohol, although they won’t be able to tell precisely just how much. San Diego DUI Attorney Jason Beahm says that THC tests can come back positive even days or weeks after someone has used it, though. Seattle attorney Jeffrey Steinborn says there need to be laws that look at actual impairment vs. whether THC is in the blood or how much is in the blood. So how these new tools will account for that remains unseen.
They could become essential tools in keeping the roads as safe as possible if proven to be reliable. Seattle Times says that as much as a quarter of drivers stopped in 2013 had positive blood test results for THC. With more states likely to start legalizing marijuana, it’s likely to become a widespread problem. So the race for developing a go-to THC breathalyzer is on.
The Cannabix THC breathalyzer has already been introduced, which is supposed to become available next year. It will first be available to businesses to use in the workplace and law enforcement agencies, then available to consumers.