OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – You probably know about the breathalyzer test for alcohol but a bill currently on the Governor’s desk could make a breathalyzer test for marijuana a reality.
“I have heard that it is a big problem,” said Rep. Scott Fetgatter.
But the State Representative from Okmulgee says his issue with driving under the influence of pot might not be the exact problem you think.
“I’m trying to figure out how do we stop people from getting a DUI that aren’t impaired at the time of operating a vehicle,” said Fetgatter.
Currently if an officer suspects DUI, a field sobriety test is administered.
Fetgatter says if failed, then a blood test is conducted and if there is a positive for THC, that person is driving illegally.
He says drivers that use small doses of marijuana for true medical purposes would be guilty.
“The intent of the program is not to figure out how to put more people in jail,” said Fetgatter.
Fetgatter says he thought about trying to change the DUI laws this session but instead put a clause in a house bill that would set aside $300k for a pilot program to field test drivers for marijuana use- possibly with cutting edge technology.
“The worlds first marijuana breathalyzer, a better test and more fair test for the detection of the recent use of marijuana,” said Douglas Boxer of Hound Labs.
State officials have been in talks with the California producer of machines that are used much like an alcohol breathalyzer in the field.
The unit detects pot on the driver’s breath for up to 3 hours after use.
The window the Department of Highway Safety says is the most dangerous, not days or weeks later like a blood, urine or saliva test.
“We are picking up that THC as it’s exiting the blood stream and entering the breath,” said Boxer.
Fetgatter says the test would be voluntary and for information gathering purposes only.
“They wouldn’t be admissible in court.”
The Department of Public Safety would be in charge of administering the tests. Officials didn’t want to talk on camera. They say it’s very early in the process and it could be up to a year before they come up with a procedure to for testing.
Fetgatter says the pilot program would last 6 to 8 months once its online. The bill itself, HB 4161, is currently awaiting the Governor’s approval.