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New device said to detect pot by breath

Virginia is not one of the nine states that has legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes but one of its neighbors, the District of Columbia, has done this. It therefore stands to reason that some people might legally use pot in Washington D.C. and later find themselves in Virginia. Alternatively people who live in Virginia may go into D.C. and legally smoke pot there. Either way, they should be aware of the growing push to find ways to arrest people for suspected impaired driving due to marijuana.

As reported by National Public Radio, a company based in California is said to have developed a product now ready to market that can take a 30-second breath sample and within four minutes return results that indicate whether or not THC is present. Interestingly, this device does not provide information about a particular level of THC that might be in a driver’s system but simply indicates that the substance is present.

Because THC is said to be active within two hours after smoking pot, this apparently may let law enforcement determine that a person smoked pot within that window of time. Furthermore, this timing alone may contribute to an arrest for impaired driving regardless of the level of THC present. notes that this year the Governor of Virginia expanded the current medicinal marijuana law to allow two types of oils to be used for a greater range of medical conditions. Interestingly, the new device only detects THC in a person who has smoked pot, not used an oil or consumed an edible form of the drug.