Ever since the dominos began to tip toward widespread cannabis legalization, cannabis users have been seeing threats in the headlines about roadside breathalyzer tests that will tell cops if you are baked behind the wheel.
Cannabis critics are constantly citing statistics that they say prove that cannabis and cars don’t mix. What they conveniently omit from their argument is the fact that nearly all of these studies regarding fatal car accidents tend to lump “drunk” and “drugged” driving together.
It is disingenuous to combine the numbers of drivers with weed in their system with the number of drivers with alcohol in their system, but to then include the vast numbers of people zipping around town while zooted on prescription pain meds just strips such stats of any credibility.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recently weighed in by officially stating that State Highway Safety Officers now consider ‘drug-impaired’ driving “equal to or more important than driving while impaired by alcohol.”
And law enforcement is buying in, literally.
An ER physician / SWAT team member in Alameda County, California named Mike Lynn is the CEO of a company called Hound Labs.
He says that he knows firsthand the dangers of drugged driving, so he has invented an opiate detector and vows to go after crooked pharma reps.
Just kidding. He has no interest in actual drugs.
No, Hound Labs is in the business of making it easier for cops to give more DUIs to cannabis users.
Of course, Lynn sees it from a different angle – that he is helping to keep our streets safe!
His new device from Hound Labs is a roadside breathalyzer kit about the size of a cell phone. Anyone suspected of being under the influence of cannabis is forced to blow into the device for a full 30 seconds and four minutes later lives are potentially ruined over a plant.
Hound Labs claims that their machine analyzes whether or not a person has used cannabis within the past two hours based on the metabolites of THC that remain in their breath during that window of time. They say that after three hours, it doesn’t matter if you just globbed a gram of high-grade, those breath-based metabolites will be back to zero.
Any sensible person would stop to think, “Wow, the human body sure does metabolize marijuana quickly & efficiently, it’s almost…natural.”
While alcohol breathalyzers measure residual booze in the parts per thousand, the new Hound Labs contraption measures for THC in parts per trillion. Lynn brags that it is comparable to finding a few specific drops of water in 3 olympic sized swimming pools.
Again he misses the clear picture that if you are digging that deep you might be searching for a “problem” that really doesn’t need a solution.
The Hound Labs breathalyzer is extremely sensitive to hot or cold temperatures which absolutely affect its accuracy – a troubling thought when dealing in parts per trillion and your damn freedom.
So, Hound Labs has attempted to address the insurmountable hurdle that has stopped all prior attempts to identify “cannabis-impaired” drivers – the fact that you can take one hit of low-grade weed and still piss hot for it a month later.
What they have not sufficiently addressed is what exactly constitutes impairment when it comes to cannabis? So far, seven states have passed laws with clear THC limits for drivers but they are all based on ignorance instead of science and the rest of the country cannot decide how to fairly and justly deal with the issue.
Undeterred, the goal of Hound Labs is to put one of these devices in every patrol car in America, but that’s not all.
“When you find THC in breath, you can be pretty darn sure that somebody smoked pot in the last couple of hours,” says Lynn. “And we don’t want to have people driving during that time period or, frankly, at a work site in a construction zone.”
Break that down real quick.
“Pretty darn sure”, Mike?
Not good enough, bud.
And what’s this about “work sites” and “construction zones”?
To everyone reading this right now, what do you do for a living?
Whether you are a house painter, a budtender, or a clerk at a grocery store, your job is at a “work site”.
This is a cash grab – yet another way for people who capitalized off of the illegality of cannabis to change lanes and try to reap the benefits of its newfound social acceptance.
Boston’s Police Commissioner, William Evans, is eager to deploy the new Hound Labs devices. He is retiring this year but not before opposing the state’s push to legalize cannabis and bringing in these flawed pot breathalyzers – he’ll probably leave an upper-decker in the office toilet on his way out too, cranky old asshole.
Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed for now in California, where the CHP is relatively certain that Hound Labs and their scammed scanner will be promptly laughed out of courts across the country.
Let’s be honest, it is entirely possible to be “too high to drive” due to very recent cannabis use, particularly for those with low tolerance levels. But the way you bust them is observing their reckless driving.
These devices are not intended for those circumstances though – getting pulled over for swerving or dangerous driving.
These devices are made for mandatory roadside checkpoints and everyday employment harassment where they can jam that nasty straw into as many mouths as possible and hope they actually shoot a fish in the barrel. It’s beyond lazy and should be unconstitutional to conduct police work like this and any tool like the Hound Labs breathalyzer only encourages it.