Benchmark Capital, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm whose investments include Uber, Dropbox, Snap, and WeWork has infused capital into Oakland-based startup Hound Labs – makers of a breathalyzer for cannabis, according to a Business Insider report. The firm led the tech company’s recent $8.1 million funding round.
Breathalyzers for cannabis are tricky because THC can stay in a human body for days or weeks – and just because THC is found in a urine sample or cheek swab doesn’t necessarily mean an individual has recently consumed cannabis.
Hound Labs CEO Michael Lynn said he hopes the breathalyzer can take the guesswork out of roadside field tests. The product is currently undergoing clinical trials that began earlier this month at San Francisco General Hospital conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.
“With alcohol, it doesn’t matter what your car looks like or … whether you’re a man or a woman. At the end of the day, everybody pretty much knows if you’re above a .08 [blood-alcohol level] you’re going to be arrested,” Lynn, who is also an emergency room physician in Oakland, said in the report. “We want to do the same thing for THC and take the subjectivity out of it, make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”
The device is expected to retail for between $600 and $1,000 and cartridges used with the machine to collect samples will run about $15.