Lifeloc Technologies in Wheat Ridge, Colorado is in the process of developing the first marijuana breathalyzer that law enforcement officers will be able to use roadside, in the same manner that alcohol breathalyzers are used.
Lifeloc was awarded a $250,000 Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant by the Colorado office of Economic Development and International Trade to contribute to the development of this product. Seven of these grants were awarded to Colorado companies, and are meant to “enhance the commercialization of advanced industry products or services in Colorado.” Lifeloc is already a well established technology company that manufactures alcohol breathalyzer tests used by law enforcement agencies for roadside drunk driving stops.
The marijuana breathalyzer that Lifeloc is developing is different than the saliva testing devices on the market because it will test the level of Delta-9-THC on a person’s breath if they have smoked or ingested cannabis within about two hours. THC can be detected in saliva several hours after smoking, so testing the breath is a way to narrow down the time frame of consumption. Lifeloc is also working to add a unique aspect to this device. They intend to create a breathalyzer that will not only be able to detect recently smoked or ingested marijuana, but also how much THC is built up in a person’s system. This feature is supposed to be able to help judge a person’s level of impairment.
Detlta-9-THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana that is credited as having psychoactive properties. Testing specifically for the cannabinoid that may cause impairment will be an important feature for the breathalyzer if it is going to be roadside ready.
This product is not expected to be available to law enforcement until the end of next year. There is much to be researched for the development of a marijuana breathalyzer tool that will actually be able to be used to collect accurate information during roadside traffic stops.
photo credit: DryHeatPanzer