University of Pittsburgh researchers developed a prototype marijuana breathalyzer that can measure the amount of THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — in a person’s breath. Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

We all know about the alcohol breathalyzer, which took decades to be implemented successfully. 

The debate over the appropriate legal limit for drivers, and whether a machine was more trustworthy than a cop’s judgment, took years to settle. Now, we’re in a time where cannabis is being brought into question. 

Thirty-three states have legalized marijuana to some degree. Just when you thought law enforcement couldn’t persecute you for marijuana, they’ve come up with another way to penalize pot smokers. Last week, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh announced a tool to detect THC, which could aid the police in the same way the alcohol breathalyzer would. 

The news release states, the device uses “Nanotechnology sensors to detect THC at levels comparable to, or better than mass spectrometry, which is considered the gold standard for THC detection.” The developers of the device have set a threshold on the breathalyzer to detect only.a certain amount of THC. This means it won’t flag pot use from several days prior.

Supposedly, the breathalyzer is almost ready to be mass produced. The problem is, there isn’t a ratio that can link the amount of THC in one’s breath and blood. Technically, it won’t prove how high someone is. 

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