Along with the legalization of cannabis comes new laws to make sure everyone is safe. As I wrote last week in my article regarding the approval of cannabis in Amsterdam, places that permit cannabis are now enacting laws forbidding people under the influence of cannabis to drive. In order to control this, the breathalyzer was created to test for alcohol. Now, Hound Labs, Inc. has created the world’s first cannabis breathalyzer.
Who is the team behind HoundLabs, Inc?
Dr. Mike Lynn, an ER physician, reserve deputy sheriff, and former venture capitalist and Mr. Kuni, a patent attorney with an extensive technical background in engineering and science cofounded the company in Oakland, California in 2014. Their device was also developed in partnership with scientists The team now consists of Jenny Lynn, the CMO, Daniel Jones, the business analyst, Louisa Ashford, the marketing manager, Matt Francis, and Dan Fletcher.
What issues are HoundLabs, Inc solving?
With the growing legalization of cannabis, there have to be laws enacted to protect everyone’s safety. Although the effects of cannabis are not as drastic as alcohol, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis. Research has shown that the adverse effects increase lane waving, delayed reaction time, and not able to focus on the road. It is very hard for officials to get an exact number on how many car crashes are caused by people who were under the influence of cannabis while driving because cannabis can stay in the body for months at a time. Therefore, when the person is tested and cannabis shows up in their system, it is nearly impossible for them to be able to pinpoint exactly when the person was under the influence. HoundLabs Inc has created the world’s first dual cannabis and alcohol breathalyzer to identify and measure recent cannabis and alcohol use.
Despite the fact that this product is mainly in law enforcement’s’ hands, Mike Flynn is firm that their goal is not to arrest people.
“To be very specific, we were trying to educate people about (how) it’s illegal to drive stoned.”
He claims that the readings of THC levels in the breath did correlate to how recently the driver consumed cannabis. The drivers who failed these tests were not arrested; and they were taken to a safe location.
The product has been successfully tested by the Lompoc, California police department.
How does this breathalyzer work?
Once the breathalyzer has captured a sufficient breath sample, it performs an automated process to analyze the breath sample. The device is programmed to carry out a series of automated routines that happen within a single-use, disposable cartridge. First, it chemically isolates the THC molecules from the breath sample and then generates a composition for measurement. The automated process then triggers a measurement mechanism to optically measure the THC level in the produced composition, outputting a measurement value in picograms on display. The resulting measurement value corresponds the level of THC present in the breath sample at the time it is collected. This entire process lasts only a couple of minutes.
What’s next for HoundLabs, Inc?
They are planning to conduct more field trials, conduct the clinical trials, and obtain even more data. They want to make sure they ride the balance between safety and fairness in making sure the right people get off the road while making sure not to arrest those that are not currently under the influence. They plan on raising additional funding to prepare the company for commercialization and a targeted product launch towards the end of 2017.