The “Cannibuster” has been a long time in the making. A roadside marijuana test has been the holy grail of law enforcement for some time now, and researchers at the University of Akron believe they have invented it. Unlike testing for alcohol–which can be done at roadside with a simple breath test–quantifying the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a driver’s system has required a blood test and a much greater time commitment by law enforcement.
Called “The Cannibuster,” the new device was recently presented at the ninth annual LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Awards. The event celebrates five competitors representing some of the brightest and most innovative ideas being produced at northeast Ohio universities. Researchers are seeking funding for creating prototype, and they have vowed to work with law enforcement to develop it.
Currently California law provides for an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension for any motorist who drives with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater. Legislative efforts to establish a “per se” level of illegality for THC have stalled in California, in part because of the expense of performing blood tests for every motorist stopped. Look for devices like the Cannnibuster to spawn an entirely new “per se” suspension scheme at DMV (as has been done in Colorado and Washington for 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of whole blood), as officers can determine THC levels at roadside.