This one’s real, however. If you’re at least 21, live in Pullman, Washington, and willing to smoke pot for a breathalyzer study, this gig may be for you. Researchers at Washington State University are looking for volunteers.
Under Washington state law, a 5 nanogram-per-milliliter active THC limit was included in the marijuana legalization law approved by voters back in 2012. If you have more than 5 ng/ml of active THC in your bloodstream, you can be successfully prosecuted for “driving under the influence,” whether you are impaired or not.There’s currently no good way to measure THC blood content, other than drawing blood. State officials are, therefore, desperate for an accurate marijuana breathalyzer test. And as part of a broader, $1 million study, Washington State University is happy to help them out.
Participants will start with a blood test and mouth swab as part of preliminary testing, reports KIRO 7. Volunteers will then buy cannabis (of their choice!) from a Washington state-licensed retail marijuana store. They’ll smoke it privately at their own home.
Once the volunteers are nice and high, they are supposed to call researchers, and a taxi. Taxi cabs will pick up the volunteers at their homes (since they would supposedly be unsafe drivers, don’t ya know) and bring them to a hospital to complete breathalyzer testing.The reason for the elaborate planning — rather than just, you know, smoking weed on the WSU campus — is because researchers had to come up with a way to conduct the study without ever actually handling marijuana themselves, reports Graham Abbott at Ganjapreneur.
Seems they understandably don’t want to endanger the University’s federal funding. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, just as dangerous as heroin and LSD. (Both cocaine and methamphetamine, ironically, are officially considered less dangerous than pot, since they’re on Schedule II.)
The volunteers will be paid $30 an hour for the first hour, and $10 for each additional hour of participation in the breathalyzer study.As part of the study, participants will also be encouraged to partake in a standard sobriety test conducted by local law enforcement. That part of the study is optional, though. If you don’t enjoy interacting with law enforcement officials, you don’t gotta.
The researchers involved are WSU Professor Emeritus Nicholas Lovrich, doctoral candidate Peyton Nosbusch, and city council member Nathan Weller, reports Louis Babcock at Inquisitr. Lovrich first began developing and researching a cannabis breathalyzer back in 2010.
The professor’s inspiration for creating a marijuana breathalyzer came when he noticed that arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol were declining, but arrests for driving under the influence of cannabis and “drugs” were on the rise.
Unfortunately, the fact that most experienced cannabis users aren’t impaired at all at 5 ng/ml, the Washington state limit, seems to have fallen between the cracks of public policy.If the device is successful, WSU will benefit financially from the device patent. The project is being funded by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.
Cannabis is legal for medicinal use in 29 states and D.C. Recreational marijuana is legal for adults in eight states and D.C.