As part of an initial field test, several erratic drivers were pulled over and asked to voluntarily blow into the breathalyzer. Two of the drivers who took part in the test admitted to smoking marijuana in the previous 30 minutes, and delivered a positive reading on the handheld device.
Other drivers who confessed to smoking pot within the previous two to three hours also tested positive – none of whom were arrested, although those who tested positive were not allowed to continue driving.
“Basically everyone agreed because they were curious,” said Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs, the Oakland-based company who developed the device with some help from the University of California’s chemistry department.
Lynn, who also works as an emergency room doctor in Oakland, California, and a reserve officer with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, tagged along with officers to assist in the pullovers and testing.
“We were not trying to arrest people. … Sure, we could arrest people and people are arrested every day for driving stoned, but the objective was not to put people in jail but to educate them and use the device if they volunteered so we could get the data,” Lynn added
One driver was arrested during the testing, but for being under the influence of alcohol.
The “groundbreaking” device can detect THC on the breath, even if they have eaten or drank anything in an attempt to cover up the detection.
Following some more tests to validate the technology’s results, Hound Labs hopes to widely distribute the device to law enforcement in the first half of next year.