Pullman, Washington, is not a town known for its cannabis consumption, but that could soon change. Researchers at Washington State University are in need of volunteers for a study to develop a breathalyzer that detects cannabis consumption.
Currently in Washington State, the drugged driving law specifies that drivers with five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in their bloodstream can be prosecuted for driving under the influence.
According to WSU researcher Nathan Weller, the university’s research team felt there was a tremendous need for a quick-response detection technology like you find with alcohol field tests. Weller is also a member of the Pullman city council.
“We’re trying to create a roadside tool for law enforcement and businesses to detect if someone is inebriated or under the influence of marijuana,” Weller told KREM 2 News. “This is cutting edge – there is nothing in the world like this.”
To qualify for the research study, volunteers must be at least 21 years old. Participants will begin with preliminary testing, which includes a blood test and a mouth swab. According to Weller, participants will then purchase marijuana of their choice from a licensed dispensary, and smoke it privately in their own homes.
Taxi cabs will then pick up the volunteers from their homes and then bring them to the hospital for secondary testing. Participants will also be encouraged to partake in a standard sobriety test conducted by local law enforcement.
“Law enforcement and businesses are struggling to enforce a no-drugged-driving policy in legalized states. Oftentimes, they have to wait for test results,” Weller said. “This tool helps both government agencies and businesses get fast results to determine who is in fact under the influence.”
The study will take place during the last two weeks of May and continue through the first two weeks of June. To join the study, contact Nathan Weller at (509)-432-1943 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.