Hound Labs Raises $8.1m For Their Marijuana Breathalyzer Technology
The original breathalyzer for testing blood alcohol content dates back over 75 years. The first breathalyzer was trademarked in 1954 and then brought to market for law enforcement. Breathalyzers come in all shapes and sizes now. It’s easy for law enforcement to perform a quick field sobriety test to see if drivers are too intoxicated to drive. Regular people can now purchase breathalyzers either as stand alone devices or incorporated with a smartphone app, that would let them know if they were too drunk to drive anywhere.
Now, with over half the country having some kind of legal marijuana law, or one in the works, law enforcement needs a similar tool.
Just last week it was reported that in Colorado there were no vehicular fatalities linked to marijuana use. Colorado is the state that has had marijuana legalized the longest. There may be a lot less accidents caused by people under the influence of marijuana, but a breathalyzer for marijuana, and specifically THC detection, would definitely help. It could also help bring some of the states on the fence about legalization over to the legalized side. Breathalyzers would help create regulations that would improve the safety of the people.
Two companies are competing to be first in the space with marijuana breathalyzers. Cannabix Technologies and Hound Labs are both developing hand held breathalyzers designed to detect THC levels.
Last week Hound Labs reported that they had raised $8.1 million dollars to further advance their technology. Notable Silicon Valley early stage venture firm, Benchmark Capital, invested the entire amount. Benchmark bet early on both Uber and Tinder as well. The company also reported that they have started clinical trials.
“Over the past two and a half years, we have extensively tested our device with marijuana users and routinely correlated our results with state-of- the-art forensic laboratory equipment,” Hound Labs CEO Dr. Mike Lynn told VentureBeat. “We are eager to demonstrate the Hound marijuana breathalyzer’s capabilities and to take the final steps toward commercial availability.”
“Cannabis legalization has created a new global market for employee and law enforcement testing,” stated Benchmark general partner Mitch Lasky, who will also join Hound Labs’ board of directors. “In the past, employers and law enforcement professionals focused on possession and use. After legalization, impairment — whether behind the wheel or on the job — becomes the new enforcement paradigm. Groundbreaking science is necessary to make an accurate measurement of recently used cannabis, and Hound Labs is uniquely positioned to deliver a solution to the market that respects the needs of the enforcement community as well as the rights of legitimate cannabis users.”
Check out Hound Labs Here