Marijuana “breathalyzer” technology is gaining steam as more states legalize medical and recreational use of the drug. Several companies, including Vancouver-based Cannabix Technologies Inc. and Colorado-based Lifeloc Technologies Inc., plus universities, are focusing on creating a product that works similarly to an alcohol breathalyzer. At present, states rely on a mix of relatively inaccurate blood and urine samples to detect impairment in drivers suspected of being under the influence of marijuana behind the wheel. However, even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges that not enough is known about the THC concentrations at which drivers become significantly impaired. Some states have set limits anyway, ranging from 1 ng/mL of blood in Pennsylvania to 5 ng/mL in Washington. Legalization and access advocates have argued that such blood concentrations are useless for moderate to heavy smokers, who may have high baseline concentrations of THC in their blood serum but not be impaired.
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