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There is no breath test for marijuana

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Drug Crimes

When a police officer suspects that someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer can give them a breath test. This may be a portable breath test that can be used on the side of the road, or it may be a Breathalyzer that is administered at the police station. Either way, the test gives a reading of that person‘s blood alcohol concentration, showing whether or not they are over the legal limit.

However, this can’t be done for marijuana – at least not yet. Some scientists are working on what they call the “foundation” of marijuana breath tests, but the device doesn’t exist yet. Currently, marijuana can be detected in urine tests, mouth swabs, hair tests and other such drug tests.

Why this is a problem for drivers

In California and many other states across the country, marijuana is legal for recreational use. However, driving while impaired by marijuana is still illegal.

But how do the police know if the driver is actually impaired? The benefit of a breath test for alcohol is that it shows the driver’s BAC at that very moment. But THC can show up on a drug test for days, weeks or even months – in the case of a hair test – after the driver has used the substance.

In other words, with the testing that exists right now, a driver could use marijuana products and still fail a test the next day, even though they were not high or impaired while driving their vehicle. This could make things very complicated, especially for commercial drivers and others who worry about the impact such an arrest could have on their career. It’s crucial that anyone who is facing such charges knows what legal options they have at their disposal.