Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Puff, Puff, Jail? Scientists Working On Marijuana Breath Test

 / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

When it comes to legal marijuana in Washington state, cops are forced to guess whether or not drivers are stoned behind the wheel — but they might get some help from a team working on a handheld THC detector. People have been able to buy recreational marijuana legally in the state since July. That might be good for Washington's tax coffers, but cops have been relying on blood tests when they suspect drivers have been smoking, something that can't be done on the side of the road. Now Herbert Hill, a chemistry professor at Washington State University, is working on a device that can detect THC — the chemical responsible for marijuana's mind-altering effects — in someone's breath, according to the Seattle Times. The device won't be able to tell how much THC is in somebody's blood, but it will be able to notice if it's present at all, which could help police officers know when to bring someone in to test whether they are past the legal limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Hill is working on a prototype now, the Seattle Times reports, and should start testing it out on human breath early next year.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.