Toronto: A marijuana breathalyser that can test for drugged driving is being developed by an Indian-origin duo in Canada.
Kal Malhi, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in Surrey, British Columbia, decided to develop the pot breathalyser after reading a Swedish study.
The study found that people could be tested for marijuana through their breath, as opposed to traditional methods involving saliva or urine.
Malhi said he is confident his team can take the study’s findings and incorporate them into a handheld device that provides accurate readings.
The plan is to have a prototype built within three to four months, then have the Swedish university that led the initial study run a clinical trial with that prototype.
Malhi said breath testing has one major advantage – it can show if a person has smoked marijuana within two hours.
In saliva and urine tests, marijuana can be detected if it’s been smoked at any point within 72 hours, long after the high has passed, ‘The Globe and Mail’ reported.
Trying to prove a driver is still high when they have gotten behind the wheel can be frustrating for police, Malhi said.
“It’s largely based on observations you make of the person. And the observations aren’t so obvious for drugged drivers as they are for drunk drivers,” he said.
Malhi has partnered with Raj Attariwala, a Vancouver-based radiologist and nuclear medicine physician with a doctorate in biomedical engineering, for the Breathalyser project.
Bruce Goldberger, of the University of Florida’s Forensic Toxicology Laboratory, is a senior adviser for the project.