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Fearing backlash, WSU ends development of marijuana breath test

AP file photo

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Washington State University researchers are halting their development of a marijuana breath test for fear of backlash from the federal government.

Researchers hoped the breathalyzer would help law enforcement officers detect THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in motorists.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Professor Nicholas Lovrich said the project, which began in 2010, ended amid concerns that WSU could lose federal funding under the Trump administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era guidance that allowed states to legalize marijuana without federal interference.

Lovrich says the university denied his proposal for continued research in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts after an assistant attorney general expressed concerns about the university's liability.

The WSU chemistry department has developed a tongue swab that can detect THC within the body.

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