A former Canadian cop had a dream. A dream that one day the police would have a way to detect whether or not a driver was high on recreational marijuana whilst driving his or her vehicle. We already have the breathalyzer to detect alcohol levels in someone whom the police feel is driving under the influence, but now Canadian officials have unveiled a new ‘weed breathalyzer’ that they claim will be able to tell if someone is high while driving. This former cop believes that the fear of being punished for smoking weed with this new technology will prevent people from puffing that pre-road doobie.
Canada is actually pretty well-known for its liberal attitude toward recreational marijuana, which is why this news story comes as somewhat of a surprise to some, but Kal Malhi, the former Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer hopes to change all that. Some Canadian are understandably upset, because recreational marijuana has always taken a beat seat to alcohol in terms of strict policies which are enforced, especially while driving. Alcohol, arguably, has a much worse effect on a driver than the THC found in marijuana, but in 2011 the BC Medical Journal suggested that the plant, “like alcohol, impairs the psychomotor skills required for safe driving. Cannabis intoxication slows reaction time and impairs automated tasks such as tracking ability (staying within a lane) or monitoring the speedometer.”
Malhi also hopes this new invention can help the police to their job a little easier. Detecting whether or not the driver is smoking recreational marijuana just before or during the car ride, could save them a lot of work in determining whether the driver is impaired enough to cause serious harm to themselves or their passengers. The police force currently needs saliva, blood, or urine samples to detect THC levels in someone’s system in order to prosecute them, which could be difficult since it’s almost impossible to prove that they were high at the time of operating their motor vehicle, as THC stays in a person’s system for much long than a simple car ride.
Typically, the most a driver will get if they have very obviously been smoking weed behind the wheel is a 24-hour roadside suspension. That is the problem, according to Malhi. “People are becoming very afraid to drink and drive nowadays because they feel that they will get caught and charged, but they’re not afraid to drug and drive because they don’t feel that law enforcement will do anything about it,” he told a local television station. Malhi also says this Breathalyzer will come in handy in the workplace and also at home with parents who suspect their teens on smoking recreational marijuana.
I’d be interested in how effective this invention will be once it’s in full swing. Can it detect how high a person’s tolerance levels are? If you are a veteran recreational marijuana smoking or dabber you might be able to get into a car just fine, a little tooth paste or peppermint gum, and you’re good to go. There might be more to this than meets the eye, but for now we’ll just wait and see. This is something I don’t think will be catching on the United States anytime soon, shockingly enough.