Colorado Police on Creating a Weed Breathalyzer: “It’s Not Going Well”

By January 13, 2017Thomas Law Firm


Colorado has enjoyed a robust economic boom ever since marijuana was legalized, and we imagine general happiness has gone up as well (not to mention Taco Bell sales, we’re sure) – but there’s one group that is still struggling with some of the lingering effects of marijuana legalization.

The Colorado State Patrol has been struggling to produce a device that would help them keep drivers impaired by marijuana off the roads. It’s not as simple as it is with alcohol.

In January 2015, the CSP began experimenting with marijuana detection devices in an attempt to create something as reliable as the alcohol breathalyzer. But, to quote Major Steve Garcia of CSP, “it’s not going well.”

Testing Drivers Who Seem High

Garcia reported that the CSP offers suspected high drivers an optional roadside test just for the purposes of data collection on a series of testing devices. Drivers are not required to submit, and the State of Colorado has said that it will not use the results of the tests as evidence, but thanks to common sense and the public statements of Colorado criminal defense attorneys advising drivers not to take the test, the data has been hard to come by. As a result, CSP has struggled with deciding which, if any, testing device to use.

While the idea of an accurate marijuana breathalyzer may never come to fruition, there are other potential ways to test for marijuana in a person’s system. One promising test involves a mouth swab to detect the presence of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. However, even these devices suffer the same faults as breathalyzers and blood tests: namely, that there is no scientifically robust way to prove that the amount of THC in a person’s blood has any correlation with impairment.

If you have been arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, you have a good chance of having your charges reduced or dropped if you seek the assistance of a Denver criminal defense attorney.

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