The Pot Breathalyzer Is Here. Maybe

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jaimi Kenyon blows into a alcohol breathalyzer during a demonstration of devices used to test drivers suspected of impaired driving May 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers and police are hoping new devices will be developed to effectively test for marijuana use by drivers.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

As legalization of recreational and medical marijuana continues to expand, police across the country are more concerned than ever about stoned drivers taking to the nation’s roads and freeways, endangering lives.

With few accurate roadside tools to detect pot impairment, police today have to rely largely on field sobriety tests developed to fight drunk driving or old-fashioned observation, which can be foiled with Visine or breath mints.

That has left police, courts, public health advocates and recreational marijuana users themselves frustrated. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana and 30 states and D.C. have legalized medical pot.

Now one California company claims it has made a major breakthrough in creating what some thought of as a unicorn: a marijuana breathalyzer.

“We are trying to make the establishment of impairment around marijuana rational and to balance fairness and safety,” says Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn in his downtown Oakland, Calif., office.