Com­pany looks to sell road­side cannabis test

The Prince George Citizen - - Local -

OT­TAWA — The com­pany be­hind the sec­ond ma­chine that could be ap­proved for road­side drug tests in Canada says its prod­uct is faster and eas­ier to use for po­lice wary about the tech­nol­ogy.

Six months af­ter the fed­eral govern­ment le­gal­ized cannabis for recre­ational use, of­fi­cers have ex­pressed wari­ness about the one test­ing ma­chine cur­rently ap­proved, called the Drager DrugTest 5000, and how its re­sults might hold up in court.

In an in­ter­view, two of­fi­cials from the com­pany Ab­bott say their test­ing de­vice, the “SoToxa,” has shown it can ac­cu­rately use a saliva sam­ple to test for drugs in a per­son’s sys­tem within five min­utes and works in cold weather.

The com­pany stressed that the de­vice is an op­tional tool for po­lice forces to use if they want to test for tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol, or THC, the main psy­choac­tive in­gre­di­ent in cannabis, be­fore of­fi­cers go through ad­di­tional steps re­quired to charge some­one un­der Canada’s drug-im­paired driv­ing law.

“This helps iden­tify the pres­ence of pos­si­bly THC and or other drugs and al­lows it as a pre­sump­tive test, an ex­tra point for the of­fi­cer to say, OK, now I’m go­ing to take the next step and maybe go ahead and ar­rest the per­son and take a blood sam­ple and do the nor­mal pro­ce­dure,” said Chris­tine Moore, Ab­bott’s chief tox­i­col­o­gist.

The hand­held de­vice is now in a 30-day pub­lic re­view pe­riod af­ter the govern­ment posted its in­ten­tion to al­low po­lice to use the de­vice.

The no­tice went pub­lic on April 20 – the date when cannabis ac­tivists host 4-20 events – and says the SoToxa, its as­so­ci­ated test car­tridge and de­vice for col­lect­ing oral fluid, when used to­gether, would be con­sid­ered “ap­proved drug screen­ing equip­ment” un­der Cana­dian law.

“An oral fluid sam­ple that tests pos­i­tive would pre­sump­tively con­firm the pres­ence of the drug,” the post said.

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