The Oakland California Police Department has, for the first time in America, used a marijuana breathalyzer to evaluate impaired drivers [1]. Not only can the device, created by Hound Labs, evaluate impaired drivers, it can also detect recent consumption of marijuana-infused food [1].

The Oakland police conducted initial field tests by pulling over drivers who were seen driving erratically or committing a traffic infraction. Drivers were then asked by police to volunteer to take the breathalyzer to determine if they had recently smoked marijuana.

Even when drivers tested positive for THC, they were not arrested. CEO of Hound Labs, Mike Lynn said “[the] objective was not to put people in jail but to educate them and use the device if they volunteered so we could get data” [1].

The hope is that the breathalyzer will be welcomed by both sides of the marijuana legalization debate. The device will ease the minds of those who fear drugged drivers, and marijuana advocates who oppose current testing methods [1].

In Michigan, the Michigan State Police are running a pilot program using a saliva-based drug test to determine marijuana impairment of drivers. Initial testing will occur in five Michigan counties, which are yet-to-be determined [2].

Unlike in California, where drivers volunteered to participate in the drug test, Michigan drivers are required to participate in the pilot program and individuals who refuse the saliva-based test will receive a civil infraction [2].

Stay tuned to Rights First Law for more on this and other legal news.

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