Marijuana Technology Making Strides

MarijuanaWe’ve all heard the term “drunk driving.”

How about “drugged driving”? Get used to it. You might start hearing it a lot more often.

Marijuana DUI technology has been advancing in laboratories across the country. But how will it be used by police in the field and other officials? This is a problem still limited to a few states in the U.S. — namely Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the only states to have fully legalized cannabis. For that reason, this technology has been relatively slow to develop.

SAFER DRIVING, OR NOT

Many people know someone who claims to see an improvement in driving ability when under the influence of marijuana. Gallup polls even support this notion, with large percentages of Americans saying they feel marijuana will actually lead to safer roadways, rather than make them more treacherous. The basic logic is that marijuana and its derivative products are safer than alcohol — which is true, in many aspects. But when it comes to getting behind the wheel? There is no conclusive evidence either way.

Though there is some evidence marijuana legalization has made the roads safer, studies are coming out that point to the contrary. The argument over whether driving drunk or stoned is better is mostly irrelevant, many experts say. The point is that driving under the influence of anything is typically a bad idea – and law enforcement agencies are hard at work trying to figure out a solution.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

A Seattle TV station recently aired a report detailing the experimentation and adoption of new technologies by the Washington State Patrol to detect marijuana levels. According to that report, the WSP has been looking at all kinds of technology and devices that it hopes to one day implement.

How will they work? Instead of requiring a blood sample, the new batch of marijuana breathalyzer technology will focus on far less invasive measures, like requiring only perspiration. The new batch of technology will likely analyze sweat, body oil, or saliva, rather than blood.

Hound Labs Inc. of California announced in early 2016 the development of a new handheld marijuana breath test, analogous to the Breathalyzer device that measures alcohol levels. The company says the product will for the first time allow for detection of the level of THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, in a person’s system from a breath test.

One downside to the test, however, is its inability to detect THC intoxication if a person has ingested marijuana in food — ranging from the well-known marijuana-infused brownies and candy to tea.

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI or drug offense, use your time wisely and seek help. Contact the experienced Maryland attorneys at Alpert Schreyer LLC and put their experience and skills to work for you. For a no-cost consultation call 866-444-6363.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.