According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, medical or recreational marijuana is now legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. More states are likely to follow.
And in Colorado, deadly crashes are on the rise, and the number of drivers involved in those deadly accidents testing positive for marijuana use has increased a whopping 145 percent. But now cops may have a secret weapon to fight back against the trend: the "drugalyzer," a new device so small and lightweight that it could be used during a traffic stop.
The Dräger DrugTest 5000, or drugalyzer, tests for seven different types of drugs, including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The company says it can detect whether someone has smoked or eaten pot up to six hours earlier.
To find out if the drugalyzer really works, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen and the Rossen Reports team set up an extreme experiment at Summit Recreational Retreat in Parker, Colorado, near Denver, using four subjects: one who was high after smoking marijuana, one high after eating it, and two people who were sober. The results were revealing.
In most states, if a driver is pulled over and suspected of being under the influence of pot, that driver doesn't have to submit to the type of saliva testing the drugalyzer entails. However, that may change: There are exceptions in states that have newer laws that specifically consider this type of test.
Michigan, in fact, recently set up a law making it illegal to refuse a saliva test —and the makers of the drugalyzer expect more states to follow.