A company based out of California called Hound Labs Inc. said that it has created a marijuana breathalyzer and that the device will soon be available. The company claims that the device is very sensitive and picks up THC that can be potentially present on an individual’s breath.
When New Jersey legislatures consider the legalization of marijuana, they will have to consider a variety of factors, one of which will be how the DWI laws can be enforced. Marijuana intoxication can be difficult or impossible to detect through a blood or urine test as the marijuana metabolite stays in an individual’s body for multiple weeks. Therefore, these tests can come back positive when an individual is not presently under the influence of marijuana. Field sobriety tests are presently used to detect marijuana use but they are not completely reliable, as they rely upon human findings and interpretation.
Officials in other states that have legalized marijuana have voiced concern over how many individuals operate their vehicles under the influence of marijuana. The Colorado Department of Transportation conducted a survey in 2017 and found that almost 70 percent of marijuana consumers drove high at least once in the past year. Twenty-seven percent of those individuals said they drive high almost every day.
One of the potential issues with a marijuana breathalyzer will be what is considered “over the limit” or what the limit will actually be. In New Jersey if an individual has a blood alcohol content of .08 they are considered to be legally intoxicated. However, it is unclear what the legal limit will be for marijuana use. Additionally, the marijuana breathalyzers manufactured by Hounds Labs’ are presently being marketed as a tool to detect the recent use of marijuana. They are not specific to level of intoxication as the amount of THC the breathalyzer picks up may be more of an indication of how recently marijuana was used not how intoxicated a person is. However, Hounds Labs does say that marijuana only stays on the breath during the “peak window of impairment” which is about one to two hours after smoking.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana DWI contact the New Jersey Marijuana DWI lawyers at our firm. Our attorneys are ready and willing to aggressively defend your rights.