Can a Breath Test Smoke Out Stoned Drivers?

In a sparely furnished, exceptionally clutter-free office in Oakland, California, Mike Lynn is blowing into a black plastic box the size of a rat trap. 

“It takes a certain amount of breath,” he says after around eight seconds. “I can do it in one breath, some people take two.”

Lynn, whose career has taken him from emergency medicine doctor to venture capitalist, is now the co-founder and CEO of Hound Labs, according to the Guardian.

While alcohol breathalyzers are standard, so far there is no such equivalent for marijuana. And that’s because it is a tough problem: unlike alcohol, breath levels of THC – the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that makes people high – are much lower. Up until now it has taken large, costly instruments to detect.

“The analogy is taking 20 Olympic swimming pools and finding one drop of water,” says Lynn. “But that is what we are so excited about – because we figured it out.”

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