During the latest TechCrunch Disrupt event, one of the premier events for tech startups, TechCrunch Editor-At-Large Josh Constine wasted no time getting right to the point.
As he sat down to interview Mike Lynn, co-founder and CEO of Hound Labs, a startup in the process of developing the first reliable cannabis breathalyzer, Constine pulled no punches, asking, “Why are you such a narc?”
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 19, 2017
The question got a laugh from both the audience and Lynn, who then launched into an explanation of the benefits of having a reliable breathalyzer on the market.
“What we really try to do at Hound Labs is really be fair, to balance public safety and fairness because we need to have a standard,” he explained. “We don’t want people going around stoned behind the wheel, just like you can’t drive drunk.”
“But,” he pointed to the counterargument, “at the same time, you don’t want to start firing people or arresting people who aren’t impaired.”
Hound Labs raised $8.1 million in its latest round of funding, specifically for research related to this cannabis breathalyzer, but how does it work?
The machine is similar to an alcohol breathalyzer (and does calculate alcohol levels as well as THC), but the machine comes with single-use cartridges. When breath enters the cartridge, a chemical reaction separates THC molecules, allowing the calculation of THC levels.
The Hound Labs breathalyzer is currently only available to law enforcement agencies, a contrary point to Lynn’s vehement denial that he is, in fact, a narc. However, he is looking towards marketing the product for employers to help them recognize whether workers are actively impaired, which could save companies millions of dollars in drug tests costs.
So are cannabis breathalyzers for the best or for narcs? Truth be told, TechCrunch misspelled the word “nark” so who knows? Maybe they’re the ones to watch out for.