Hemp Embassy president cautious about drug testing

NIMBIN Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone has cautiously welcomed news that a cannabis breathalyser could be released commercially next year.

Researchers from America's Washington State University are working on their second prototype of a marijuana breathalyser.

Developed by Professor Herbert Hill and a team of researchers, the breathalyser had about a 60% success rate in detecting THC in its most recent trial.

The push for an accurate marijuana breathalyser comes after the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use in Colorado and Washington.

Mr Balderstone said he supported developing a device that could identify drivers whose ability was impaired after smoking cannabis.

"I'm all for us finding something that can measure impairment or reasonable levels of recently used THC," he said.

But he remained cautious as the device being developed in the United States measured levels as low as five nanograms per millilitre.

"That's not much at all; I think five nanograms per mil is a tiny amount," Mr Balderstone said.

Mr Balderstone said he didn't believe daily users of cannabis were impaired in their driving ability.

"I think that they are probably more impaired if they are not taking their regular 'daily medicine', like anybody who is if they are not taking their daily medication," he said.

"If you are a regular daily user, you are safer using your daily medication.

"If it's the first time you have ever smoked cannabis and you've had a beer, you shouldn't go near your car.

"And we've got medical cannabis in the pipeline, so there are going to have to be exemptions for that.

"There is a big, wide area to cover here and I don't think 'one size fits all' covers it."



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