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Is a Marijuana Breath Test on the Way?

Washington State is one of only a handful of states which have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana use. Of course, driving while under the influence of marijuana is still illegal and will get you a charged with DUI. However, the methods for testing marijuana intoxication are not as concrete or exact as those for testing alcohol intoxication. Police officers have to rely primarily on appearance and behavior in order to determine whether they suspect someone of driving under the influence of marijuana. Until a blood/chemical test is administered, officers don’t have much to go on.

This is unlike alcohol intoxication because, when it comes to alcohol, police officers have tools like breath tests which can more accurately and scientifically measure the exact level of intoxication without the need to rely solely on appearances and the officer’s own opinion. However, marijuana breath tests may be on the way.

A team of chemists at Washington State University in Pullman are working on modifying existing sniffers that airports use to detect explosives. On the outside, the prototypes look very similar to existing alcohol breath tests but the components inside are very different. Currently, the devices are still not as capable of measuring the exact level of intoxication as alcohol breath tests.

Police departments in Washington are especially eager to get these new breath tests in the hands of their officers because Washington is one of only two states, along with Colorado, which sets exact legal limits for THC intoxication. The legal limit for marijuana intoxication in Washington while driving is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Most other states simply have a zero-tolerance policy at any level of intoxication. This exact limit makes it difficult for officers to easily tell whether an individual to they pull over is driving legally or not.

The problem with these new breath tests is that THC remains in the blood long after the high has worn off. This may lead to police unfairly arresting drivers for DUI who may fail the breath test but are perfectly safe to drive.

If you have been arrested for DUI due to marijuana intoxication, an experienced Washington marijuana DUI attorney may be able to help. Contact Dan Murphy’s Law Offices today for a free consultation.

Call today — (253) 312-6122 — your future may depend on it.

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Federal Way, WA 98063



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Murphy’s Law Offices
506 S. 11th St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 312-6122

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