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WSU statement on cannabis breathalyzer research

April 25, 2018

Washington State University is involved in a wide range of research on the health and social impacts of cannabis legalization as part of its commitment to address issues with a significant public health and economic impact on our state. It is also committed to abiding by the relevant state and federal rules and regulations, and revising and updating its activities as the legal landscape evolves.

University researchers have been working on a cannabis consumption detector that would let law enforcement officers test drivers for THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, in the field. Researchers had hoped to involve volunteers who purchased marijuana from Washington state-licensed retailers. This would have satisfied the restrictions of the Cole Memorandum laying out the U.S. Department of Justice’s enforcement priorities. However, the U.S. Attorney General’s recent rescinding of the Cole memo has increased the legal risk for research participants using locally purchased marijuana. That portion of the research has been put on hold.

Researchers will continue to work with law enforcement on THC detection and impairment, as well as a variety of other research projects meeting all applicable University, local, state, and federal policies, statutes, and regulations.

For more information, see:

WSU Guidance on Cannabis Research, Teaching, and Outreach Activities

July 2017 WSU Cannabis FAQ for Researchers

WSU Cannabis Research, Policy, and Outreach Highlights

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