With Marijuana Legalization Coming To Minnesota, Will Marijuana Breathalyzers Be Used?
Both the House and Senate in Minnesota have passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. It passed by just one vote in the Senate, along party lines. Many Republicans opposed the legalization because there hasn't been a standardized impairment level for THC to be considered driving under the influence.
Technology for recent results is improving.
That doesn't mean there aren't breathalyzers available. There are several that have been developed. FOX 9 recently broached this topic and found a breathalyzer that can detect THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) within 3 hours of use that is made by Hounds Labs. That's an improvement from some previous THC breathalyzers which would detect if you had consumed marijuana in the last 24 hours. A saliva swab test can show positive results up to 3 days after use. That's not accurate for law enforcement. The goal is to try to get the most recent results.
Still, unlike alcohol, there isn't a specific level that equates to driving under the influence. With alcohol, just about everyone is experiencing some level of impairment at the legal BAC threshold of .08. Marijuana is different because it affects people differently. What's the level of impairment?
Field sobriety tests are still the norm.
Currently, and in the near future, police use a field sobriety test to determine if you are too high to drive. It can be simple as asking questions and motor skill tests just like the ones that are used for alcohol.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test is used to check your eye movement. The officer moves an object like a pen from side to side in front of the driver's face. The driver is supposed to follow it with their eyes, and if jerky eye movements occur it is likely that the person is intoxicated.
Probably cause can allow the police to search your vehicle.
If the police officer finds evidence that you were consuming marijuana in the car, that can be used against you.
Companies see the value in a breathalyzer test for employees.
As more states move to legalize recreational marijuana, more companies are going to need technology to test their workers as well. In fact, California recently passed a bill protecting workers' duty use of marijuana. Employers need to know that their employees are working safely and sober while on the job. Hounds Lab actually shares statistics that the amount of workers across the country who regularly used cannabis has increased by 50% over the last few years.