As the social stigma associated with marijuana slowly evaporates with each passing year, it may be just a matter of time before the laws that govern drinking and driving are applied to smoking pot.
Anticipating that change, one Canadian company has already begun testing a breathalyzer for marijuana, the first of its kind. Based out of Vancouver, the aptly named Cannabix Technologies has been testing a prototype device that can accurately detect the presence of THC in a person’s system. As opposed to alcohol breathalyzers, however, the pot breathalyzer in question is unable to measure the degree to which a person who has been smoking pot is impaired.
Speaking to this point, Barry Knott, an executive with experience selling alcohol breathalyzers, tells Reuters that the first generation of pot breathalyzers “will be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the presence of THC at the time of the test, and in that sense it won’t provide a quantitative evidential measure.”
Whether or not subsequent iterations will be able to provide more detailed information remains to be seen.
A larger question, though, is whether or not we even need pot breathalyzers in the first place. Not only are other tests (i.e blood and urine tests) more helpful, but Reuters adds that “the size of the potential market is unclear, owing to widely varying estimates of cannabis use, and unreliable data on those driving under its influence.”
As for the developmental progress of Cannabix Technologies’ product, it noted in a press release last month that it “has moved the development of the Cannabix marijuana breathalyzer from a very early concept stage through the proof of concept stage and to the Alpha prototype stage.”