Oakland company testing new technology that could help police gauge if a driver is high on marijuana

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OAKLAND (KRON) — One of the biggest sticking points on the proposition that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California is the fact that there is no meaningful test to determine whether or not someone behind the wheel is high.

But KRON4 talked to an Oakland company that is testing new technology that the workers believe will help law enforcement better gauge whether or not a driver is stoned.

Video obtained by KRON4 shows a man undergoing a field sobriety test after an officer pulled him over, smelled marijuana, and found a baggie of weed in his vehicle.

He was tested twice and passed, so he was not arrested for DUI. One of the biggest arguments against Proposition 64 is the concern about an increase of drugged out drivers on the road.

Reports out from Washington State and Colorado, where recreational pot smoking is already legal, shows that marijuana-related traffic fatalities have doubled.

The pro-Prop 64 side questions those reports. Those states have set limits for the amount of THC that a driver could have in their system before being determined too high to drive.

“There is no permanent and obvious link between THC and the blood stream and impaired driving,” Prop 64 supporter Jason Kinney said.

Unlike alcohol, THC can linger in a person’s system well after they’ve sobered up.

Prop 64 would funnel some of the money raised by taxing pot to developing training and technology to crack down on drugged driving.

The state’s Associations of Highway Patrolman and Police Chiefs are against Prop 64.

“I am not sure how that is even making sense that you would create legislation that legalizes marijuana, and then, based on your profit projections and revenue, you’re saying you’re going to research how to measure impairment,” California Police Chief’s Association spokeswoman Jennifer Tejada said. “It’s like putting a 12-year-old behind the wheel of a car and saying, ‘Let’s see what damage this 12-year-old can do and then we will put the safety standards in place.’”

One Oakland entrepreneur said he believes he has developed a THC breathalyzer that can help cops determine whether or not someone is driving while stoned.

“THC only stays in breath for a short period of time, so if you measure it in (the) breath, you know the person had to have smoked or eaten in the last couple of hours,” Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn said.

The device is currently being field tested by law enforcement agencies.

The company has teamed up with UCSF to conduct a clinical study to help validate the science behind the breathalyzer.

If all goes as planned, you could be seeing this at a DUI checkpoint some time by the end of 2017.

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