DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With the market for marijuana booming nationwide, the University of Texas at Dallas is working on new technology to help police quickly test drivers on the roadside for possible intoxication from THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis.
The device works similar to a breathalyzer, but uses a person's saliva.
It shows not only if, but how much THC is in a person's system.
"This is a truly breakthrough technology, Dr. Shalini Prasad, Professor in the Department of Bioengineering. "
You stick it in your mouth. You take it out. You put it on a sensor – and within 30 seconds, within a minute - it'll tell you what the number is," Dr. Prasad said.
Forty six states now have some form of legalized cannabis and that includes Texas.
The state's low-THC medical marijuana is expanding, CBD oil is widely available, and farmers will soon be able to grow hemp.
The growing presence is fueling interest from law enforcement for a way to quickly test for the presence of THC.
In the past year, blood samples analyzed by the Texas Department of Public Safety's crime lab have found 2,369 drivers positive for THC.
Blood tests, though, require a trip to the hospital.
Officers say tests they can perform on the roadside in a minute or less will provide them with better information about the drivers they encounter.
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