Testing positive for marijuana is not a violation in many states. Currently, thirty-three states and Washington D.C. permit recreational or medical marijuana use. This however can cause problems for employers in the workplace.

Existing drug tests detect marijuana levels between three and thirty days old. The new “breathalyzer” for marijuana is a groundbreaking test that will measure the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive drug in marijuana, in an individual’s breath. Two products are currently in the works; Hound Labs test is set for release in the summer of 2020 and the University of Pittsburgh which is still in the testing phase.

According to Doug Boxer, Hound Lab’s chief of policy and strategic partnerships, research suggests individuals are most impaired within the first two to three hours of use. “The thing that’s groundbreaking about this test is it can distinguish recent use from historic use,” Mr. Boxer said.

Along with the excitement of this innovative test, comes two challenges. First is the lack of legal standard for marijuana “impairment” and second how does the employer know if the amounts detected by the test are causing impairment. For now, the decision is left in the hands of the employer. This could potentially put the owner at risk of a lawsuit if they violate the state’s disability act.  

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