As if it wasn’t hard enough to manufacture drugs on the down-low in America, what with the harsh mandatory sentencing laws and neighbors who are just determined to not be cool about it, now it looks like there’s something else to worry about when it comes to hiding your stash: a drug sniffing car.
A chemistry professor at the University of North Texas has just created a device that can be mounted in a car and detect traces of drugs in the air. The machine is a kind of mass spectrometer that can analyze the air for up to a quarter mile and detect chemical substances that enable it to pinpoint the source within fifteen feet.
Police could mount the device in a car, turning any generic black-and-white into a drug sniffing car, and drive through neighborhoods, detecting traces of drugs that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, allowing them to identify the source of large-scale drug production.
The device can detect a large variety of drugs if they are present in large enough quantities, like if say, someone were manufacturing them in their basement. Originally, it was intended to monitor highway pollution and air contaminants, but the team developing it pivoted when they realized it would be more lucrative as a tool for law enforcement.
They tested the device by setting up a mock meth lab in a house and letting the vapors waft through the vents. It’s intended to pick up traces of methamphetamine, PCP, and Fentanyl which are the drugs most likely to be manufactured in large quantities. Ostensibly, that means you’re probably going to be fine with that mason jar full of weed unless it were a particularly potent strain, but it isn’t hard to imagine that a little bit of fine tuning might enable police to have a field day of arrests every April 20th.
On the whole, it’s probably a good thing. Meth is bad and people having meth labs in their homes is definitely bad considering how often they tend to explode. But the idea of a car that can detect drugs from miles away promises to be another source of paranoia for stoners. Sorry, guys. On the plus side, by the time it reaches that point, it will probably be legal anyway.