Pot breath tests coming soon. Will they be just as unreliable?

Despite their inaccurate readings, roadside alcohol breath tests are used by police all over the country. Unfortunately, a new marijuana breath test has been developed and will hit U.S. markets soon.

Police are always finding new ways to crack down on criminal suspects, particularly those suspected of driving under the influence. And the numbers prove this. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics-a division of the U.S. Department of Labor that collects and analyzes public data-the U.S. prison population is close to 2.5 million. A 2014 National Research Council report reveals that America has the largest prison population in the entire world.

Police use a variety of alcohol breath tests like the Breathalyzer and Intoxilyzer to crack down suspected drunk drivers. Yet such tests are continuously proven unreliable. But, despite their inaccurate readings, they are still used and their results are admissible in many jurisdictions throughout the country.

Sadly, a similar test may soon be on the horizon-this time it's a breath test to detect marijuana.

The pot breath test

This pot breath test is called the Cannabix. The device was developed by a former Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman who worked in the Canadian drug enforcement division for four years.

He developed the test as a faster, alternative method of determining whether individuals are driving under the influence of marijuana. Presently, urine or blood samples are taken to detect whether cannabis is in a person's system, but they take time to administer.

The inventor hopes to change this by launching his new pot breath test that can be used roadside immediately after the stop. Although it will hit Canadian markets first, the inventor expects the device to launch all throughout North America by the end of this year.

The problems with breath tests

However, just like alcohol breath tests, the new Cannabix breath test will no doubt be just as suspect.

Alcohol breath tests often provide inaccurate readings because they are based on many different factors-one that have been found to skew results. The outside temperature when the device is used or the presence of blood or other chemical compounds in a person's mouth can easily throw off a breath test reading.

And given the complex nature of pot detection, pot breath tests are likely to pose a higher risk of inaccuracy. The Cannabix device uses complex biochemical methods mirrored after a Swedish technique experimented in 2010.

It remains to be seen when or if this pot breath test will launch in the U.S. anytime soon, but, more importantly, whether courts will allow the results to be used in a court of law. Only time will tell.

Keywords: DUI, marijuana breath tests, criminal defense