Cops are Testing a Weed Breathalyzer in California

“The Hound”, a marijuana breathalyzer, is now being used by cops in field tests in Northern California. The Hound, created by Oakland-based Hound Labs, can detect levels of THC that determine whether or not someone smoked weed and has THC in their systems within 30 minutes or 3 hours of the test.

It’s unclear whether this “positive” test would actually lead to a DUI under California law, but it’s clear that California’s cops are testing this out in field tests. That news makes it highly likely that this bad boy soon becomes a common tool (when tests for pigs (or hounds?) testing red-eyed stoners’ breath:

At least one police department in NorCal wants to use the tool:

The Lompoc Police Department in California already has expressed interest in the innovative THC-detecting tool.

‘The Hound marijuana breathalyzer is exactly the tool that we need to address the existing issue of marijuana-impaired driving on our roads,’ said Lompoc Police Chief Patrick Walsh. [Daily Mail]

And when The Hound is ready for distribution next year, it will sadly likely be adopted by many other police departments.

My reaction to this news:

Sure, driving high isn’t the best idea. And yes, this isn’t the first or even second weed breathalyzer I’ve written about. But The Hound is definitely the first one being used by cops and seems like it’s going to catch on, at least in NorCal.

And The Hound represents a scary scenario for medical marijuana patients that legitimately need to medicate to drive a vehicle (see: Parkinson’s) and also for the common stoner who weed simply calms down behind the wheel (yes, we exist). Just becomes someone has THC on his or her breath doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is “impaired.”

Moreover, there have been multiple precedents set in Colorado (and Michigan) in weed DUI cases where the driver–arrested at the time and charged with a DUI–later had the charges dropped. That outcome has happened multiple times because in court, it’s simply impossible for a cop to prove that a driver on marijuana didn’t put a turn signal on or get his or her plates tagged because he or she was high on marijuana.

Yes, The Hound and other marijuana Breathalyzers are sadly coming to a legal marijuana state near you. But they’ll likely cause more problems and confusion for both cops and stoners then solve any real “crimes.”



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