With the legalization of marijuana making forward progress in the United States, it is no wonder that law enforcement and lawmakers alike are looking to new methods of detecting and preventing drugged driving, or driving under the influence of marijuana and other controlled substances.
In California, it is illegal for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while "under the influence" of alcohol and/or drugs. To be considered "under the influence," a driver must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater or abilities that are impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. While standardized breath and blood tests are used to test a driver's breath or blood for the presence of alcohol, testing for drugs brings about an entirely different set of problems. Blood and urine tests may be used to detect marijuana or other controlled substances in a driver's system, but these testing methods are not nearly as established as those for alcohol detection and measuring.
It should therefore come as no surprise that law enforcement agencies may be in the market for a new device that could detect the presence of marijuana in a driver's system by way of a breath sample. Much like the Breathalyzer device approved for use in California to gauge a driver's BAC, a marijuana breath test device would offer law enforcement a way of detecting marijuana.
A new device has been developed that could fill this need. The Cannabix, developed by a former Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, is a breath test device that works by collecting a breath sample in one tube and then re-testing it in a second tube after filtering it. It is said to verify whether a test subject has consumed marijuana within the past two hours.
Though implementing a device like the Cannabix may seem appealing to law enforcement, there are some immediate problems we believe may arise. If the device can only tell whether a driver has consumed marijuana within the past two hours, what does this have to do with the amount of THC in a driver's system and his or her ability to operate a vehicle? The device will not be able to tell whether the driver is actually impaired.
The Cannabix has not been approved for use or even for sale in the United States, but its creator hopes to have it on the market throughout North America within 18 months. He has also indicated its use in testing employees for marijuana use in the workplace. We will have to see whether the Cannabix makes it to the U.S. and what reaction law enforcement agencies and traffic safety officials have to the "marijuana Breathalyzer."
For additional information and insight on DUI charges in Southern California, do not hesitate to call an Orange County DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry for a confidential consultation. With our experience and resources, we offer only the highest quality DUI defense representation to drivers throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas.