Lawmakers Push for Oklahoma to Roll out Marijuana Breathalyzer Test

May 18, 2020

A spending bill directs the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to spend $300,000 on a marijuana breathalyzer developed by Oakland, California–based Hound Labs.
Credit Hound Labs

State lawmakers want Oklahoma to be among the first in the U.S. to implement a marijuana breathalyzer test.

Through a spending bill, they're directing the Department of Public Safety to spend $300,000 on testing units made by Oakland, California–based Hound Labs, which are expected to be available late this year.

Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) said he read about the company in the news and while he doesn’t know what their profit margin on the test is, they’re trying to catch on in as many states as possible.

"And so, they were very willing to come down on some of their pricing on the cartridges and different things to make it economically feasible for us to do," Fetgatter said.

Fetgatter said the state board of tests refused to take part in developing a breath test for marijuana.

Hound Labs claims the test can detect current marijuana use causing impairment rather than past use, but testing will be only a pilot program until its accuracy is confirmed. Rep. Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow) was asked whether that means people can refuse to take one.

"But as long as it’s a pilot program, it’s not going to be used in a court of law, it would be my opinion that it would be a volunteer program up until the point that it becomes – you know, that data becomes sufficient enough for us to be able to come back in and change the laws," Ford said.

As long as the breathalyzer is a pilot program, results will not be admissible in court. Supporters said law enforcement will be encouraged to call a ride or find other help for people who test over the limit.