Washington State University researchers are in the process of developing
a breath test that could allow law enforcement to determine if drivers
are under the influence of marijuana. Current testing for drivers pulled
over for marijuana DUI involves a field sobriety test that gages impairment
and a blood test that can show the presence of THC. However, current testing
capabilities are limited, as a person's blood can show THC for weeks,
and doesn't provide the clearest or most accurate indication that
a driver is high when behind the wheel.
Should I be worried about new THC testing?
Researchers are pulling from existing technology currently in use by the
Transportation and Security Administration to detect drugs or explosives
in real time.
They believe this technology can be altered to detect THC on a person's breath. The device being developed will be handheld and use ion mobility spectrometry
to detect THC. This technique involves the separation and identity of
ionized gas molecules based on their mobility in a standardized gas. The
gas can be separated and determined in tens of milliseconds in current
The device will be tested on human breath starting in the first half of
2015. Since marijuana was legalized in Washington in 2012, law enforcement
has attempted to keep drivers impaired by marijuana off of the roads.
They have had an even more difficult time of finding an accurate and effective
If researchers are successful in developing this tool, it is possible that
California police will adopt this mechanism to determine impairment of
drivers suspected of marijuana DUI. While California currently does not
have a concrete number to determine THC impairment, Washington's legal
limit for impairment is set at 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter
of blood. There is a chance that THC impairment, such as BAC testing,
may become a uniform standard in states with legal or medical use of marijuana.
Driving under the influence of any substance that may cause impairment
is illegal in California, but determining the level of impairment a driver
may have is difficult. If you or a loved one has been accused of driving
under the influence of marijuana or another substance in California, you
will need legal representation from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry,
Inc. to protect your rights.