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New test may be able to determine marijuana usage

Texas motorists may soon have to worry about police using new forms of evidence to prove intoxication. Researchers at Stanford University recently declared that they have created a test that could be administered at traffic stops to determine whether drivers are under the influence of marijuana. According to reports, the test examines saliva specimens and uses magnetic nanoscale technology to determine whether the fluid actually contains THC molecules.

Observers liken the new test to an alcohol breathalyzer for marijuana. The device's creators say that it can detect saliva THC concentrations from 0 to 50 nanograms per milliliter within about three minutes.

One potential problem with the test, which has the potential to be expanded to morphine and a number of other substances, is that there's no consensus on what the results might mean. For instance, state laws don't currently set limits for saliva THC concentrations, and the device does nothing to determine the blood-borne levels of THC that would actually indicate intoxication. Nevertheless, the device's developers have already begun redesigning it to a form factor that would be more likely pass muster with regulatory agencies and appeal to actual police departments.

Although some law enforcement agencies present test evidence to prove that someone was driving while intoxicated, tests aren't flawless. Those who face charges based on evidence like breathalyzer results and other chemical assessments may be able to defend themselves based on the way their samples were handled, whether the police followed the correct test procedures or even if the test accurately represents intoxication. Talking to a lawyer about DWI charges could make it easier to choose an appropriate defense strategy based on the situation at hand.

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