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Marijuana breathalyzer idea raises accuracy concerns from defense perspective

Florida readers know that the "reputation" of marijuana has been shifting in recent years across the United States. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and even recreational use, it is at least conceivable that we will be seeing an increase in the amount of drugged driving in different areas, particularly areas where laws are more lax. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.  

One of the concerns for law enforcement, of course, is keeping drugged drivers off the road. Targeting high drivers is not as easy as it sounds, though, since marijuana affects different people differently and because of the way it is stored in the body. This last point is particularly important when it comes to one of the proposed solutions for helping law enforcement better track high drivers: the marijuana breathalyzer

The marijuana breathalyzer concept is relatively simple: develop technology similar to the alcohol breathalyzer so that officers can gather better evidence of marijuana intoxication. The device, which is being proposed by a company called Cannabix Technologies, would apparently provide a THC reading similar to how alcohol breathalyzers provide BAC readings.

The technology sounds good, until you realize that it could not function the same way as an alcohol breathalyzer since THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can remain in the body well after marijuana is ingested. Routine use of the technology could potentially result in sober drivers being unfairly charged. Even if these drivers were to have the opportunity to fight the charges and overcome a presumption of marijuana intoxication, they will have been wrongly targeted and unnecessarily put through the criminal process.

It remains to be seen how the concept of the marijuana breathalyzer will pan out, but a word of caution is certainly in order. Anybody who is wrongly targeted for drugged driving, of course, should work with an experienced attorney to obtain the guidance and advocacy necessary to protect their rights.

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