As the legalization of medicinal and adult-use cannabis spreads across the country, law enforcement and researchers are diligently trying to develop methods of preventing driving under the influence. An article recently published in the International Business Times put forth both challenges and potential solutions to the issue. In need of input from experienced industry insiders, they called on Poseidon Asset Management.
Driving under the influence has always been against the law, but in most states, DUI laws require prosecutors to prove impairment, either with roadside sobriety tests or evidential biological tests. As urinalysis and hair strand testing are often considered unreliable for convictions, and blood testing is far from convenient, the search for a reliable and accurate marijuana breathalyzer is on.
The problem is that marijuana is far more difficult to detect in the breath compared with alcohol. Compounding this, unlike blood alcohol levels, traces of marijuana in someone’s system don’t equate to the same levels of impairment from person to person.
“It took 30 years for alcohol breathalyzers to get to where they are today,” Lifeloc CEO Barry Knott says. “I don’t think it will take that long for marijuana breathalyzers, but it might take 10 years.”
As head of one of the leading alcohol breathalyzer manufacturers in the country, he should know. His company was given a grant by the State of Colorado to develop a marijuana breathalyzer.
“There is a lack of research and understanding of the impact marijuana has on motor skills and executive functions, and I don’t think detecting levels of anything related to THC in your body is a fair way to go about it,” says Emily Paxhia, co-founder of the marijuana investment fund Poseidon Asset Management. “If there is a detector out there and there is not proof that THC levels are attached to impairment, it could end up putting more people in prison, which is not what we want.”
The article goes on to detail a new app that runs users thorough a few memory and motorskills tests, aimed at giving users a quick and dirty assessment of their impairment.
“I think it is interesting on many levels,” says Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management, who hasn’t tried the app yet. “While I don’t really know how accurate it is and how it tests against your baseline, I do think it is interesting that they are trying to understand how you are performing and functioning.”