Marijuana Breathalyzer Detects Your Level of ‘High’

Many states across the US have legalized weed with some even allowing recreational use of it.

But that doesn’t mean you can drive while stoned.

Dr. Matt Francis, Chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, has spent the last year and a half trying to figure out how to detect pot in the system, like detecting alcohol in the breath.

"We had to develop some new chemistry that can actually be done. It was not obvious when we started that we could tag this,” Francis told FOX40.

It might be obvious to street cops when someone is driving stoned.

But being able to make an arrest and being able to get a conviction are two different things, Sergeant Davis Dowty told FOX40.

Dowty is with the union that represents highway patrolmen.

"Because they don't have a tool, like with alcohol, it's very difficult for them to say 'OK. All these things that you saw and you may be right, officer. But we need to be able to convince a jury,'” said Dowty.

This is where Hound Labs comes in with an answer.

It’s a breath test that can identify both alcohol and pot when the user exhales.

There are plenty of ways to test for pot in the system but this breathalyzer can detect if someone has recently smoked pot or is currently stoned, breath is much better than testing urine and blood.

"THC resides, its metabolites reside in those media for a long time -- sometimes days, sometimes even a month,” explains Francis. “So you cannot use those methods very well to determine if someone has recently ingested marijuana or smoked marijuana. You can't tell how long it's been."

While Doctor Francis has been working on a fix for a year and a half, Mike Lynn, the CEO of Hound Labs has been at it for much longer.

"We have tremendous interest from not only law enforcement, employers, who are struggling with this problem, but also the cannabis industry who knows you can't be driving stoned. Everybody really accepts that,” says Lynn.

This new technology could not only help officers determine if drivers are under the influence, but also pot users who aren’t stoned at the time, and get pulled over anyways.