The News Today
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8.21.19
Blowing Smoke

This Startup Created a Marijuana Breathalyzer

August 14th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
SannTek/Victor Tangermann

Driving While Stoned

If a police officer suspects you’ve had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel of your car, they can use a breathalyzer to estimate your blood alcohol level on the spot.

But if a cop thinks you’re driving stoned, they currently don’t have any evidence-based way to immediately confirm their suspicions — they typically have to rely on subjective roadside sobriety tests.

Now, though, Canadian startup SannTek Labs says it’s developed a marijuana breathalyzer — and it’s caught the eye of top startup accelerator Y Combinator.

Money Matters

SannTek just secured funding as one of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 startups for its SannTek 315, a device that analyzes the molecules on a person’s breath to determine the amount of marijuana they’ve smoked within the past 3 to 4 hours (it’s not clear whether it can detect the consumption of vaping or edibles).

“We are specifically detecting Delta-9 THC, which is the predominant psychoactive component of cannabis,” SannTek CEO Noah Debrincat told TechCrunch, later adding, “We know that if people are driving with high concentrations of that in their system, their psycho-motor skills are seriously decreased.”

Stamp of Approval

SannTek plans to sell its marijuana breathalyzer to police for less than $1,000, but only if its current talks with U.S. transportation officials go as planned.

“The only way that a police officer will buy this is if NHTSA, the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, puts its stamp of approval on it,” Debrincat told TechCrunch.

READ MORE: Y Combinator bets on a startup building a weed breathalyzer for cops [TechCrunch]

More on weed breathalyzers: Cheap Drug Breathalyzers Are on the Way, if We Can Figure out How to Use Them