Marijuana breathalyzers might be ready for mass production as early as 2020 thanks to Hound Labs, a California startup.
Hound’s CEO Dr. Mike Lynn is confident the ultra-sensitive technology will keep the public safe from impaired drivers... but we see it for the threat that it is.
The device is designed to detect whether a person has smoked or ingested marijuana within three hours of test administration.
But there’s one major problem with any “public safety” argument.
While investors and state governments are rushing to get their cut of cannabis sales, these devices are costly at $5,000 apiece.
If they move to equip law enforcement officers with even just one apiece, it’ll be Black people - the group no more likely to consume yet most likely to be profiled for suspected drug use - who will pay the ultimate price.
We have every reason to believe marijuana breathalyzers will simply be another weapon of choice in the over-policing of Black folks.
And until the overwhelming and unwarranted disparity of drug-related arrests and convictions in our communities is addressed, we don't need another tool for police to target and harass us with.