Police Arrest Two So Far With New 'Marijuana Breathalyzer' | NBC 7 San Diego

Police Arrest Two So Far With New 'Marijuana Breathalyzer'

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    NBC 7's Danielle Radin investigates a controversial new piece of equipment the San Diego Police Department is using to crack down on drivers under the influence of marijuana. (Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017)

    New technology being used by the San Diego Police Department has led to two arrests of people suspected to be driving under the influence of marijuana.

    The Drager 5000 is a device that detects cannabis, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, prescription drugs and other substances in drivers.

    It uses a swab sample from the mouth, which is put into the device and evaluated over the course of 8 minutes.

    Police have been using the Drager 5000 for 3 months at various DUI checkpoints around San Diego. They said Wednesday the voluntary test has been offered to dozens of people. So far, three people have taken the test. Two people were arrested.

    A woman also volunteered to take the test Tuesday night after police said she was in a car with people smoking pot. She told police she had not used it herself. The device tested positive for marijuana. She was not arrested.

    "There’s no science to back this up, whatsoever," said Cole Casey, a criminal defense attorney in San Diego.

    Casey said only a blood test can determine if someone is too impaired to drive after ingesting marijuana.

    “The biggest issue this is going to have in court is that there is no legal limit for marijuana," added Casey. So the Dragger 5000 comes out and says here’s the marijuana levels. What do you do with that information?”

    Police said after they use the Drager 5000 and arrest someone, that person is taken to the station to take a blood test as well.