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Scientists are working on a saliva test that could identify drivers in Georgia and around the country who are high on marijuana. The test is being developed by researchers at Stanford University.

A vote on the legalization of marijuana will take place in several states in November, and law enforcement officials are looking for tests that will spot stoned drivers as effectively as breathalyzer tests identify drunk drivers. Currently, there is no test on the market that can quickly measure THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, in a person's system. However, the Stanford test can detect the presence and concentration of THC in a driver's saliva in around three minutes.

The new test uses precise magnetic biosensors to detect THC molecules in saliva. Police officers could take a saliva sample with a cotton swab and receive results on a computer or smartphone. The test can detect THC levels in the range of 0 to 50 nanograms per milliliter of saliva. Similar magnetic technology has been used in cancer diagnostics and magnetic data storage for years. While the test is promising, states must legislate limits for THC concentration in a driver's saliva before it can be used.

Georgia drivers convicted of drugged or drunk driving could face harsh consequences, including heavy fines, incarceration and the loss of driving privileges. However, a drunk driving attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed before they ruin a defendant's future. For example, an attorney could dispute the accuracy of drug or breathalyzer tests, which could lead to the charges being dismissed. In other cases, it may be possible to negotiate for a plea deal that reduces the charges.

Source: Alternet, "Here Comes the 'Potalyzer'--A 3-Minute Spit Test Could Spot Stoned Drivers," Carrie Kirby, Sept. 15, 2016

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