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Marijuana breath test under development at WSU

Marijuana breath test under development at WSU

By Melissa Santos
The News Tribune

Washington State University chemistry Professor Herbert Hill said existing technologies can be re-purposed to test breath for THC, pot’s psychoactive component, which would be useful to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high.

A team at Washington State University is working to develop a breath test that could quickly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Law-enforcement officers already use preliminary breath tests in the field to estimate drivers’ blood alcohol content. But no similar portable tool exists to test for marijuana impairment using a breath sample.

Stoned drivers have become an increasing concern since Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. A quarter of blood samples taken from drivers in 2013, the first full year the initiative was in effect, came back positive for pot.

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