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Potalyzer Will Detect Cannabis in Minutes

Police in legal states are currently testing several devices but accuracy has been a problem.

by Michael Geslani

With Election Day just months away and the possibility of new states legalizing marijuana, state officials are pushing for more research and new ways to spot stoned drivers. 

A device currently gaining traction because it can test for THC in minutes with the use of saliva has been dubbed the “Potalyzer”.  The portable device can detect concentrations of THC in the range of 0 to 50 nanograms per milliliter of saliva by cotton swab and get results viewable on a smartphone or laptop in just a three minutes.

The system was created by Professor Shan Xiang Wang at Stanford University and the device uses a magneto-nanosensor, which is able to detect traces of marijuana in saliva. The sensors require connections via Bluetooth to a smartphone where officers can analyze instantly, eliminating the need to test at a lab.

Tom Abate, associate director of communications at Stanford Engineering, said he does not know how this test compares to others on the market.

Now it’s up for state officials to come up with limitations on how much THC is in a person's system in order to determine they are too impaired to drive.

What about the people who use prescription medication while driving? If there's a need to test for THC, it’s only fair that other drug use should be subject to testing as well.


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Michael Geslani is a Silicon Valley based writer who graduated from San Jose State University. You can follow him on IG @careerhigh.



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