WSU researching THC breathalyzers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSU researching THC breathalyzers

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Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breathalyzer to detect if you're driving under the influence of marijuana. Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breathalyzer to detect if you're driving under the influence of marijuana.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breathalyzer to detect if you're driving under the influence of marijuana.

It's a problem that the Washington State Patrol says has been on the rise since voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2012.

Professor Herbert Hill and one graduate student are working to get the device to detect THC in a person's system. Hill hopes the breathalyzer will cut down on deaths caused by car crashes.

“What have we done in the state of Washington? We've legalized marijuana, and we've privatized alcohol. Both of those things move towards more problems with driving under intoxication, and it's going to make it more and more difficult for us to reach our goal, the states goal of zero fatalities,” said Hill.

So far, the breathalyzer cannot give an officer the exact amount of THC in the body, but it could confirm if it's there at all.

“It will be data that the policeman uses to help him make a better decision, or help her make a better decision and reduce the number of false arrests that they make,” said Hill.

Even if police start using THC breathalyzers, they would still have to do follow up tests to use as evidence in court. Hill says he hopes to have a prototype ready by June 2015.

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