Would marijuana breathalyzer technology really help marijuana consumers?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2015 | Drunk Driving

In our last post, we began discussing the issue of drugged driving in Maryland, specifically DUI based on medical marijuana use. The concern, from a defense perspective, is that those who are entitled to use marijuana for medical purposes by virtue of participation in the state-recognized medical marijuana program could be targeted for drugged driving.

There is no argument, of course, that medical marijuana users have a duty not to put other motorists at risk by getting behind the wheel while high. The concern, rather, is with the fact that those who regularly use marijuana for therapeutic purposes could be targeted for drugged driving quite easily, given the significant amount of time THC remains in the body after use of the drug. 

One tool that is currently in development is the marijuana breathalyzer, which theoretically allows for accurate measurement of THC levels through a simple breathalyzer device. A version of the technology was unveiled by Cannabix Technologies at this year’s Marijuana Investor Summit in Denver, Colorado.  

The idea behind a marijuana breathalyzer is that putting the technology in the hands of marijuana consumers and law enforcement officers would allow for better self-monitoring among motorists and an enhanced ability to detect drugged drivers. There are challenges with the technology, though, not the least of which is that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is stored in the body up to weeks after it is ingested. This, naturally, could result in situations where drivers are unfairly targeted for driving while under the influence of marijuana.

In our next post, we’ll look at another complication marijuana presents when it comes to accurately determining the degree of influence on a driver.

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