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Mei Schultz Mei Schultz

Canada Invents the Weed Breathalyzer


Cops may soon be able to catch people driving under the influence of pot much more easily, thanks to a couple of clever Canadians.

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Drunk driving is a known hazard, but what about driving while stoned? Until now, cops could only identify stoned drivers using saliva, blood, and urine samples. But they had trouble making DUI convictions, since traces of THC can remain in the bloodstream for days after marijuana use. But now, a pair of Canadian scientists have developed the “Cannabix breathalyzer” that detects pot use only within the last few hours. It could soon help cops catch stoned drivers on the road.

The dangers of driving high remain subject to debate. One study found that pot doesn’t statistically increase the risk of an accident. And it’s difficult to compare stoned driving to drunk driving,

Dr. Attariwala tries out his week breathalyzer Photo via

Dr. Attariwala demonstrates the “Cannabix breathalyzer” Photo via

since drunk drivers tend to drive faster, and overestimate their skill, while high drivers have the opposite tendency.

For all these reasons, police have, up until now, been pretty casual towards marijuana use while driving.

But the creators of the breathalyzer Kal Malhi, former officer of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police, and radiologist Dr. Raj Attariwala say that stoned driving is a growing issue. “People are becoming very afraid to drink and drive nowadays because they feel that they will get caught and charged, but they’re not afraid to drug and drive because they don’t feel that law enforcement will do anything about it,” Malhi said.

They are are in the process of presenting the breathalyzer to relevant Canadian authorities. As restrictions on marijuana use loosen in the US, it’s likely we’ll be seeing some version of the breathalyzer migrate south, soon.


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