Pubdate: Fri, 13 Nov 2015
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Jessica Kerr


Ladner man getting closer to developing roadside screening device for
police use

A local man's efforts to create a breathalyzer to test for marijuana
are getting closer to having the device in the hands of police.

Ladner's Kal Malhi, a retired RCMP officer, has been working on
developing a roadside breathalyzer since last year. In August, his
company, Cannabix Technologies, signed an agreement with the Yost
Research Group at the University of Florida.

The partners have developed a prototype and begun testing. Malhi said
right now they're getting accurate readings about 80 per cent of the
time and the team is working to refine the system to reach 100 per
cent accuracy.

"Our partnership with the Yost Research Group and the University of
Florida immediately diversifies Cannabix's portfolio of breath testing
technologies for THC," he said after the partnership was announced.

"Our new partnership boosts our ability to deliver a durable, portable
hand-held tool to the market to help detect marijuana impaired driving
offences on our roads at a time when marijuana is becoming legal in
many jurisdictions globally."

Malhi said he came up with the idea for the Cannabix breathalyzer in
late 2013 while on a family trip to India.

While waiting at the airport, he came across a study out of Sweden
about breath testing technology developed at Karolinska University in
Solna. The Swedish study showed that breath samples could be collected
and sent to a lab for testing. Malhi took his idea and teamed up with
two doctors to try and make it a reality.

Currently, marijuana use can only be detected by testing blood, urine
or saliva samples. Police have no way to determine on the road that a
driver is under the influence of the drug. Any evidence for charges or
a conviction in court is largely based on an officer's

"Police officers have a tough time [proving someone was driving
high]," Malhi said. "Our tool would provide that scientific evidence
to go to court."

The Cannabix breathalyzer is designed to collect a breath sample,
which is then fed into a another part of the device that tests the
sample and gives an immediate result, similar to breathalyzers
officers use to test for alcohol impairment during roadside checks.

With an increasing number of U.S. states legalizing marijuana sales,
and the new Liberal government's campaign promise to do the same here,
Malhi said the technology is more urgently needed to enforce road
safety and crack down on drivers impaired by the drug.
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