Two University of Akron students won a $10,000 inventors' award for developing a sensor that they say will allow police to determine in minutes if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
Mariam Crow and Kathleen Stitzlein, graduate students in biomedical engineering, hope to eventually market their roadside testing device, the Cannibuster, to police in states where marijuana has been legalized, according to the university.
With the legalization of marijuana, states have set 5 nanograms or less of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, as the legal limit for drivers. But the technology to accurately measure levels of the chemical on the roadside does not exist, the students told Cleveland.com.
"Today if a driver is suspected of impaired driving due to marijuana, law enforcement officers must call an Emergency Medical Squad to the scene or take the driver to a local hospital for blood work," Stitzlein stated in a news release. "Lab results can take up to six weeks to come back, which is clearly not ideal."
Stitzlein said the Cannibuster uses saliva testing and lab-on-chip technology to determine the concentration of the chemical in the bloodstream, providing police with a quick, accurate result.