Why Isn’t there a Breathalyzer for Cannabis?


Police have been able to field test drivers for alcohol in their systems since 1954, when the Breathalyzer was invented. But, as CNN Business reports, the technology has not been so easy to create for cannabis. There are several companies in the development stages for technology to measure for driving while high, but why has it taken so long?

Cannabis Breathalyzer

The challenge comes with testing for impairment – what really counts for a field sobriety test. Unlike alcohol, cannabis can be detected days after use, when a person is no longer impaired, and it isn’t affecting his/her driving ability. As retired LA Sheriff’s investigator, Nick Morrow, says in the article, “We’re applying the alcohol rules to a substance that doesn’t play by them.”

All that said, according to the article, several companies claim to be close to a breakthrough technology that would measure THC in a person’s breath up to a few hours after consumption. So, while a cannabis Breathalyzer is easier said than done, it might just be on its way.


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