Accurate testing of marijuana has presented quite a challenge in the past. This is because, unlike alcohol, THC – the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana – can remain in the bloodstream for weeks making it difficult to determine time of use. Fortunately, this detection window could shrink significantly thanks to a new breath test that could spot recent marijuana use in most cases.
According to research published in September, scientists have developed a new test that can detect whether a person used the drug within the previous ½ to 2.5 hours, depending on frequency of use.
In the wake of marijuana legalization in Colorado, this test could help answer questions surrounding the accurate measurement of THC in the bloodstream as a result of recent use, thereby determining whether a driver is under the influence. Concerns from both sides of the marijuana argument could be addressed with more accurate testing.
Some who opposed the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults, are concerned about a potential influx of impaired drivers and a lack of means to detect the extent of their influence. On the other hand, marijuana advocates are concerned that drivers could be found guilty of driving under the influence even if they were completely sober during testing as a result of the large window for detection.
The ability to pinpoint whether a driver is currently under the influence will support the enforcement of DUI laws and also result in more accurate statistics surrounding marijuana-related accidents. Of course, this new development could be an extremely valuable instrument for testing in the workplace, at schools, by parents and… you get the point.