Y Combinator has been on the lookout for cannabis startups over the years, but their latest investment will definitely attract the attention of both law enforcement officers and marijuana users. A Canadian startup SannTek Labs has developed a marijuana breathalyzer that can be used by a cop to test sobriety in case he suspects a driver of being stoned.
SannTek has recently secured funding as one of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 startups for its SannTek 315, a breath analyzing device that examines the molecules on a person’s breath to determine the amount of marijuana they’ve smoked or consumed within the past 3 to 4 hours. Presently, it’s not clear whether it can detect the consumption of vaping or edibles.
SannTek CEO Noah Debrincat told TechCrunch, “We are specifically detecting Delta-9 THC, which is the predominant psychoactive component of cannabis. We know that if people are driving with high concentrations of that in their system, their psycho-motor skills are seriously decreased.”
Debrincat wants the breath testing device to aid officers to make stronger “evidence-based decisions” instead of relying on only unsophisticated roadside sobriety tests or blood tests, which can potentially take months to give results and possibly lead to false positives by detecting cannabis use that took place several days preceding to the test.
SannTek is aiming to sell its marijuana breathalyzer to police in the $800- $1,000 price range, but that will materialize only if its current talks with U.S. transportation officials go as planned.
Debrincat told TechCrunch, “The only way that a police officer will buy this is if NHTSA, the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, puts its stamp of approval on it”.